Concierge medicine is on the rise. The number of concierge practices has risen each year by about 3 to 6%. Patients who can afford the fees associated with this practice model benefit from more access to their physician and additional opportunities to focus on preventative health.

If you or a loved one is looking for a doctor that acts more like a “health coach” with a medical degree, then concierge medicine is a terrific Christmas gift this year.

What is Concierge Medicine?

Concierge medicine is a practice model wherein patients pay an annual fee for additional preventative health services not covered by insurance. Concierge practices still accept insurance, and you can expect your concierge physician to do what your primary care doctor does with a few additional perks.

The Benefits of Concierge Medicine

As a patient of a concierge practice, you will typically enjoy:

A long-term relationship with your physician

Concierge physicians have fewer patients, so they will spend more time with you. They get to know you and your healthcare needs. Concierge physicians only treat about six to 10 patients per day — substantially fewer patients than your typical primary care doctor.

Minimal wait time

You can forget about waiting 30 minutes in your doctor’s waiting room. Concierge practices get you in right away. One-third of concierge practices report no waiting time. Others report a wait time of fewer than 5 minutes.

Better service

Reports indicate most patients expect a terrible experience at their doctor’s office, a disengaged physician, and disputes over what their insurance will cover.

Concierge medicine is more customer service-oriented. Patients feel “invited” to engage at concierge practices and enjoy better service.

Longer appointments

Appointments generally last 30 minutes to an hour and are more comprehensive. This particular benefit means less gets missed. Your doctor knows you — and your health goals.

Coordination of care

Concierge doctors help coordinate care with other physicians. If you have surgery, it’s not uncommon for your concierge doctor to personally check on you.

Access to your physician

Concierge doctors are generally available by text and email.

Better preventative services

concierge medicine attracts people interested in disease prevention. Longer appointment times, better patient-physician relationships, and a focus on your health goals help keep significant problems at bay. Also, your annual fee for concierge medicine covers more extensive preventative health tests — ones your insurance won’t cover.

Is there a Downside to Concierge Medicine?

The biggest downside to concierge medicine is the annual fee. Practices will usually charge between $1,000 and $2,000 per person per year.

However, after experiencing concierge medicine, many patients say that the annual fee is worth the cost. Concierge practices generally have fewer missed appointments and less turnover.

An Unusual Gift, But a Very Good One

If you know someone who has expressed frustration with their doctor, concierge medicine may be the perfect gift. Not only is it unique and unusual, but it’s thoughtful, useful, and extremely generous.

Concierge medicine is also an excellent gift for aging parents who may have several medications and conditions to manage. And, if you’re worried that your loved one won’t continue the service next winter, you can always pay their annual fee again at Christmas time.

Gifting Concierge Medicine

To gift concierge medicine, research the concierge practices in your area. Call a few to schedule a meet and greet with the doctor.

When you’ve found a doctor you like, then you can pay the annual fee. However, because medicine is personal, it’s best to involve your loved ones in this process.