Concierge Medicine, Alternative Experience to Health Care Management, Says, Expert

 Mary Nnah

Chief Executive Officer of Santis by Paelon, Dr. Patrick Chukwumah, has said Concierge Healthcare is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional healthcare among both patients and their physicians.

Santis by Paelon is a luxury membership-based medical concierge service that seamlessly prioritises the health needs of clients, to ensure their quick, comfortable, and discreet attendance inside and indeed outside Nigeria.

Speaking recently with THISDAY, its CEO expressed that medical services are rapidly evolving both locally and internationally especially with Covid-related demands on the medical community while new models on how to properly deliver 21st-century medicine to patients who seek treatment outside of their hometowns or home countries are extensively being explored.

Chukwumah who claimed that the emergence of concierge medicine is no surprise, added, “many people feel alienated by the current system, bouncing between doctors and struggling to make appointments.

” Even once they make it to the clinic; they feel overlooked in favour of ushering in the next patient on the list. Now, recent events have further increased the demand for at-home services”.

He revealed therefore that patients and providers were increasingly turning to concierge medicine – a direct relationship between a patient and a provider- as an alternative care delivery model.

Describing this recent development as a game-changer for patients and providers, the medical practitioner held that the concept seems simple, adding, that patients spend more time with their physician in exchange for an annual fee or retainer.

“According to recent studies, personalised care and close relationships with physicians are what patients are looking for. 

“Those in favour of a concierge model said the potential benefits for both patients and physicians are many, which can range from benefits such as 24/7 patient care, convenient contact through telemedicine, access to physicians by phone or email, preventative care and wellness plans, same-day or next-day appointments to physicians and referred specialists.”

Chukwumah revealed further that the trend is already on the rise in Africa, with the emergence of companies like Santis Medical Concierge, which boasts of a high-level structure and network, offering patients “personalised medicine, patient-centered medicine, and preventive care.” 

Some medical schools and hospital networks are also currently embracing concierge medicine for their patients.

Santis Medical Concierge offers a range of services that focuses on preventative care while also addressing episodic care and disease management. Being proactive can potentially save the patient future health care costs.

The Santis Medical Concierge boss said that since most chronic diseases are curable if caught early or in some cases preventable altogether, preventative measures can save the patient not just money, but the heartache of chronic disease, adding, “even if a patient doesn’t have any major health concerns, research shows that those who stay abreast of their health live longer”.

Typically, concierge medicine provides a level of access to a physician that is unachievable in a traditional doctor-patient arrangement. It allows your physician to significantly limit the number of patients they accept into their practice, to those with relevant diseases in line with their specialisation. 

The Concierge medicine programme filters patients’ complaints and refers them appropriately to the relevant specialist physician.

According to Chukwumah, the goal of the concierge physician is to develop a relationship with the patient so that they can offer a level of service that is missing in the traditional model. 

These physicians are often focused on solving the patient’s problem by determining the root cause. At its core, the concierge model is designed to help people live longer and healthier lives.

For Chukwumah, Concierge Medicine is no doubt solving a big problem in the medical field today in the sense that access to quality health care has been increasingly hard to find. The pandemic has only amplified this deficit. Since the availability of a primary care physician has a direct correlation to the overall lifespan of a patient, this is a problem that must be addressed.

He believes that the system, which for far too long has hindered the patient/doctor relationship, is not going to be fixed any time soon if at all, adding that concierge medicine offers patients a workaround to the system and puts them back in the driver’s seat.

“Patients in a concierge practice appreciate the immediate access to their physician by cell phone, e-mail, and same-day appointments, and minimal waiting time in private, pleasant waiting rooms. Visits are 30 minutes or longer and allow patients to present all their concerns. The physician coordinates care with other providers, with follow-up calls after specialist visits or hospitalisations”, Chukwumah pointed out.

Speaking further, he said that the concierge medicine model is more about the patient experience and thus companies like Santis have curated a range of service offers to best suit the different needs of their patients. With offerings such as the Everest packages which provide patients with access to preventive care procedures for Cardiac Health, Pancreas Health, Liver Health, Gastro-Intestinal Health, Respiratory Health, Renal Health, Prostate Health, and much more.

The package also offers travel Medicine consult (International Travel), Home Visit (Primary Health Care), Local evacuation (within Lagos), Corporate Health Talks (Where necessary), Physiotherapy sessions, and also some lifestyle services, such as access to discounted Dietician/Nutritionist Consult, Access to discounted GYM membership, Access to discounted TRU Check Cancer Screening. These offerings are scaled in the Everest plus package to include access to Solice Health- a bespoke medical concierge in the UK, USA, and Europe.

Chukwumah expressed that generally; concierge provides access and personalisation that restores the bond necessary for an individual, proactive approach, adding “Given the obvious advantages of concierge medicine to physicians and their patients, concierge medicine will continue to grow. If you haven’t yet explored the concierge model of medicine, now is a good time to do so as establishments such as Santis By Paelon present an array of concierge care options.”

“Concierge medicine is the solution for a growing number of specialist physicians to be able to practice the highest quality medical care. This trend is only likely to intensify going forwards”, he noted further.

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