Outcomes: why do they matter?
Well, have you ever gone to the car dealership only to hear that they can’t fix your car, just provide enough maintenance to get you through the next few months? Have you ever gone to the grocery store only to hear that all your food items are not available, and ask you to come back in a few months?
No, of course not, because the car dealership and grocery store would both be out of business if they treated customers like that. So why is it acceptable for physicians to delay, defer clinical care? Why is it acceptable for physicians not to focus on improving outcomes?
Because most physicians are not concerned with outcomes. Most physicians focus on doing the bare minimal level of care, and not going above and beyond to focus on outcomes. And, until now, that has been acceptable care.
Patients and those who care for them now have more options than ever before for managing medical conditions. Making informed choices among different treatment options can be a challenge and, sometimes, frustrating. And many physicians shy away from that challenge. Yet, at Prestige Clinics we take that challenge. The decision-making process at Prestige takes into account the best evidence available about the benefits and harms of any approach, as well as a patient’s individual characteristics, values, and preferences. Most people want to be involved in decisions about their health care, but many patients and their families feel distanced or excluded from choices about which tests they’ll get, which medicines they’ll take, and which procedures they’ll undergo because their existing physician does not include them in the health care management process.
At Prestige Clinics, we use shared decision to address these concerns. In shared decision making, a Prestige physician provides a patient with information about diagnostic or treatment options, including potential benefits and harms, in a form the patient finds easy to understand. The patient is prompted to explain his or her preferences about the potential outcomes that can be expected given the presented options, concerns about how and where care is delivered and ability to get back to normal activities, and other issues of importance to him or her. The clinician and patient then discuss which diagnostic or treatment plan makes the most sense given the patient’s preferences. This is the heart of the Prestige method: empower patients to work with our team of Physicians to provide the best outcomes for our patients.
How much do you really pay to see the doctor? I know you know it is a lot, but do you know how much?
You are not just paying the co-pay, the additional out of pocket expenses, the insurance premiums, but you are paying with your time. And with that time, you could be working to promote your career, spending time with your family, caring for your children. How do you put a price on that? And how do you value your time when your physicians care more about the convenience of his or her schedule, than the value of your family time?
The best place to learn about your expenses is through your health plan’s coverage documentation (Summary of Benefits, Evidence of Coverage, and other plan information). You can also check your member ID card for important cost information, such as copayments for office visits and emergency care. And we’re here to help too. At Prestige Clinics, we provide full price transparency so that all our patients know exactly how much money they are spending, and where they are spending their money.
But how is your time valued? At Prestige Clinics, we value all our patients and are thankful for the time they choose to spend with us. New research published in the American Journal of Managed Care estimates that, on average, it takes 121 minutes each time a person seeks medical care. The total includes 37 minutes of travel time, as well as 87 minutes at the doctor’s office or clinic. And how much of that time does the patient actually spend in the presence of physicians? Only 20 minutes. The other hour or so tends to be spent doing paperwork, communicating with non-medical office staff, and just plain sitting around waiting. That means on average, patients spend an hour in the waiting room! It is incredible to see just how much time in the day a physician visit can cost patients.
The study goes on to calculate that each visit costs around $75 for Medicare patients. The average out-of-pocket cost per medical visit is $32, and researchers found that patients encountered an even larger penalty due to what’s known as “opportunity cost” – the value of work and productivity that the individual might have otherwise been engaged in had he not been spending roughly two hours trying to see a doctor. Researchers estimate that the average opportunity cost of a medical visit comes to $43. In other words, the average trip to the doctor’s costs $75 ($32 out of pocket + $43 in lost opportunity), and that doesn’t count insurance premiums, which are supposed to help cover one’s medical expenses.
At Prestige Clinics, we pride ourselves on maximizing the patient’s time and ensuring that they do not incur needless costs. We have an array of tele-medicine, virtual reality, and telephone visit options that allow the patient to schedule physician appointments on their own time, at their own schedule. As a result, we save patients serious time and money. And that is the Prestige method advantage.
How can we improve your health?
Prestige Clinics is honored to serve the patients of Northwest Indiana. And we humbled by the many patients who have already seen dramatic improvements in their health care since starting to come to Prestige Clinics. Our goal has always been to provide the best quality of patient care, and create a customized health care delivery model designed for each individual patient.
The improvements are dramatic. We have helped patients control their long standing uncontrolled hypertension, recognize the symptoms of uncontrolled diabetes and finally control the glucose values, understand the importance of smoking cessation, and learn how to avoid unnecessary trips to the emergency room or immediate care center.
We are having fun every day. We love our patients at Prestige Clinics, and we have grown to love their families and their friends. Throughout the first few months, we were constantly amazed at the many patients coming through our doors asking how we can improve their health. We realize that we are providing a true health need for our patients.
During this holiday season, we want to say thank you for all the love and support. We are here to serve you, and we will continue to provide the best quality of care possible for you.
Please share with us your best experience at Prestige Clinics or provide any suggestions you may have for how we can improve our patient service. We welcome your suggestions and advice.