- Posted July 30, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Expensive, Inconvenient, Inefficient: Three reasons why you should fire your doctor.
Think back to the last time you took a trip to your family physician. What do you remember about your experience? For many Americans, the answer is certainly no 5-star review. “The wait to see my doctor was way too long,” “the cost of the exam was too high,” and “my doctor was too rushed to see other patients to spend time on my needs,” are common complaints. When the vast majority of people don’t feel as though they are treated with the level of quality and quickness they deserve as high-paying customers, it’s clear that healthcare is overdue for an overhaul.
Let’s face it: It’s 2014. The days of kindly, old Dr. Webly and his black bag are long gone. Dr. Welby and the American healthcare system at large have failed miserably at delivering quality, basic healthcare. Sound extreme? It’s not, when you take into consideration the fact that the US healthcare system is widely regarded as both the worst and most expensive in the developed world. Just as Google and Facebook have shaped how we connect through the Internet, and companies like Uber and Tesla are reinventing how we think about cars, so must the healthcare industry go through its own period of innovation. Before solutions can be implemented, first an understanding of our current system’s most basic flaws from the perspective of the customer is needed. So, here are three simple reasons why you should fire your doctor. Think about it long enough, however, and you will be able to come up with many more.
From legal and regulatory issues, to outdated practices in the medical profession, there are many factors that make it difficult to access basic healthcare. Even something as simple as a doctor’s work hours can get in the way, resulting in you not getting prompt attention to your current needs.
Let’s take a familiar situation: Your child ear develops an ear infection at 6:30 pm on Friday evening. You call Dr. Welby’s office and leave a message, while your child continues to cry in discomfort. If Dr. Webly is like most other primary care physicians, he operates on a 9-5 schedule, and your calls will go unheard. However, your child’s sickness isn’t going to abide by your doctor’s hours. When you need care, you need it now, not next week’s opening in your doctor’s overflowing schedule. This is where a new, innovative type of healthcare can step up to assist you. Urgent Care clinics and retail medical clinics provide a broad range of healthcare services for lower rates and extended hours (some are even 24/7). These urgent care clinics are organized, well-staffed, and growing in numbers. In fact, thousands of such clinics are popping up around the country under the names of CVS Minute Clinics, Walgreens Healthcare Clinics, and many other independent operations.
You can’t wait for your doctor to open up his office the following Monday, so you take your child to see a provider at your local retail clinic. Because of its convenient location (right in the pharmacy), you can pick up a gallon of milk and your child’s prescription, all in one trip. Best yet, the cost of the provider visit is significantly less than what Dr. Welby would charge. And money isn’t the only thing you’ve saved- your time is valuable, too. You can’t waste it on scheduling appointments weeks ahead, when there are services that allow you to get in contact with a medical provider that same day.
Assisting in lowering provider expenses is a new wave of healthcare membership organizations that provide a variety of healthcare services. These organizations charge you a small monthly fee and give you access to urgent care centers, among other things. One such organization is Convenient Care Plus, which will give you access to about a thousand provider clinics all over the country, plus the benefits of telemedicine and health advocacy. Healthcare membership organizations and Discount Medical Plans are not insurance, but they help to offset the high cost of healthcare for families, individuals, and employers alike. They give people immediate healthcare access, while diminishing the impact of rising deductibles and medical costs, which is especially needed in today’s troubled financial times.
Dr. Welby is a 20th century relic. If it were not for receiving treatment for your child’s illness that Friday night, you would have had to wait until Monday morning to merely schedule an appointment, leaving the ear infection to fester and worsen. Fortunately, you had access to immediate, high-quality care that put you child on the path to recovery much sooner than what Dr. Webly could ever hope to provide. The savings in both time and money is reason enough to make the switch.
But what if leaving to go to a clinic and waiting wasn’t feasible? Maybe your child was incapacitated by the pain, leaving you no other options than turn to an emergency room. The ER has an incredibly high cost associated with it, and isn’t actually necessary for this particular condition, yet the old healthcare system provides you with no alternatives. Thankfully, there is another development in healthcare that would: telemedicine. Telemedicine is a growing industry that is backed by numerous health professionals and analysts, which allows you to call a doctor who can both diagnose your condition and prescribe medicine for it, all from the comfort of your home.
It may feel strange to break the status quo, but you’re not alone. Millions of consumers have concluded that the inconvenience, high cost, and inefficiency associated with the current mode of care isn’t worth it anymore. Obviously, retail clinics will never take the place of orthopedic surgeons, heart doctors and cancer specialists. But, since over 77% of all healthcare visits can be treated at an urgent care or retail clinic, there’s only one question left: when will you fire your doctor?