Why You Deserve More Access to Your Physician
Many people dread contacting the doctor when they’re sick.
In a conventional primary care practice, their physician may be hard to reach and even harder to schedule time with. Ultimately, some patients decide to seek help at a local urgent care center or just tough it out on their own.
Unfortunately, the following scenarios have become the norm in primary care:
- You communicate that you’re sick via your doctor’s portal or voicemail system, then wait hours, perhaps days, for a human response.
- Or, you do manage to schedule an appointment, but you’re kept in the waiting room past your appointment start time because the doctor is backlogged with other patients. (But don’t leave — you’ll get a cancellation fee if you do!)
- When you finally do see a physician, they seem distracted and your visit is rushed.
Patients Deserve Better
Expecting a patient to wait two days for responsive action isn’t a sensible approach to healthcare. Every patient — whether an ill person or a busy professional — deserves easy access to doctors who have ample time and attention for them.
At Signature Healthcare, every patient is treated like a family member. Your concierge doctor is your contact — someone you can reach out to for help — who immediately clears any obstacles to your appointment or treatment and makes things happen.
It feels like VIP treatment, but it’s simply how concierge care operates.
Time and Attention
In many traditional primary care offices, you must book an appointment months, even a year, in advance. During that long lead time, your schedule can change simply due to the demands of home, family, and work. And if you have to reschedule that appointment, you may wait many more months for another slot.
With a smaller, more manageable patient base, Signature Healthcare physicians have greater scheduling flexibility. We can see you for a comprehensive, two-hour physical within a week’s notice or reschedule any appointment to make it work for you. And concierge medicine lets us spend more time with you every time we see you.
Eye-Openers of a Concierge Doctor
When I joined Signature Healthcare as a physician, I knew concierge medicine would be a much different experience than I had while working in traditional healthcare. Here are some of my most significant lessons:
- Conventional practices are unrealistic in their efforts to deliver quality care, given the sheer volume of patients their doctors must see each day (up to 3,000 patients in their panel, amounting to 20+ patients per day). At Signature Healthcare, my panel is a maximum of 350 patients.
- Patients shouldn’t settle for less than instant access to the care they need. The role of concierge medicine is to be available to our members when and how they need it.That includes providing speedy answers to patients’ questions and immediate human attention when they’re sick. They can and should expect flexibility if things change in their schedule or with their health.
- Patients needn’t ever feel rushed or ushered to the door. I have the time to be thorough with my patients and to discuss everything on their minds and more, so they leave their appointments satisfied, not frustrated.
As a concierge physician, I deliver total care for my patients. Whether it’s sick, preventive, emergency, or travel care, I’m the quarterback. I want to be the first to know what’s happening with them health-wise — the first call they make, the first email they send, or the first note they add to a portal — so I can point them in the right direction.
I’ve seen a positive impact on patients from my previous practice who joined me here. They’re happier with their experience, especially with the increased time we’re able to spend together. It’s been incredibly beneficial for furthering the doctor-patient relationship.
The concierge model is the way healthcare should be delivered. I wish everyone had access to it.
If you’re a patient of a conventional healthcare practice, know that it’s okay to be dissatisfied. Traditional practices have the business goal of seeing as many patients as possible in a given day. They simply can’t give each patient the attention they truly deserve, and that situation won’t improve.
You should feel seen, cared for, and confident that your doctor looks out for your future. Concierge medicine is the new normal that patients deserve.
If you’re not treated this way at your current primary care practice and you’re located in the Charlotte area, we welcome the chance to talk. Contact our team to learn more or arrange an office tour.
Michael Warren Smith, MD
Dr. Michael Smith, MD, a dedicated internal medicine specialist, has been serving Charlotte families with distinction for over 19 years. A Wake Forest University alumnus and a devoted family man, Dr. Smith balances his professional life with a passion for golf, beach travels, Peloton rides, and cheering for ACC teams, alongside his wife, Dr. Erin Smith, their two children, and Bogey, their Golden Retriever.
Disclaimer: The insights and articles provided on this site are for educational purposes only and are created with the utmost care by healthcare professionals. The content is not intended to be a substitute for personalized medical counsel, diagnosis, or treatment from your healthcare provider. We encourage you to consult a medical professional for any health-related questions or concerns.