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Pros and Cons of Boutique Healthcare, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 458

Essay

Abstract

Boutique healthcare, or concierge medicine as it is sometimes referred, is a strongly personal form of healthcare, in which the patient pays an ongoing retainer to a physician, with whom they maintain a strong personal relationship. While this can create positive outcomes for patients, especially elderly patients, there are a number of practical and ethical concerns which might limit the effectiveness of boutique medicine when its principles are applied on a wider scale. It works well in small, close knit communities, but is not necessarily relevant to larger, national scale services. There are many advantages and disadvantages to this kind of care for both patient and medical practitioner. Some of the advantages and disadvantages will be examined in this short paper.

Advantages of the system include the fact that the doctor has a smaller number of patients and can devote more personal time to caring for them. A more personal relationship between doctor and patient can emerge, and care can be given in a way which is much more sensitive to the needs of the patient than other kinds. There are also advantages for physicians, who will not have to face as great an administrative burden when it comes to collecting patient fees.

There are strong ethical concerns about this kind of care though. Should a doctor drop many of his patients in order to focus on giving boutique care to a few highly valued patients who pay retainers, then he is leaving many people vulnerable to illness and injury, as well as extensive financial cost. The United States, like many western nations, has an increasing number of elderly people in its population, as the ‘baby boomer’ generation moves towards the end of its collective life. This has created an enormous burden for healthcare systems across the world to deal with. If physicians decide to treat more patients on a boutique basis, then there will be a shortage of doctors for less wealthy patients, especially in rural areas, where access is already likely to be limited. (Insure.com, ‘Buy Your own Doctor’, 2006)

Overall, it can be seen that boutique medicine is a good thing for wealthy elderly patients who require in-depth care. The infirm, or those suffering chronic conditions of one kind or another, can really benefit from this type of care. It is also good for doctors, who can minimise their administrative burden. For most people generally though, the provision of boutique care to a small minority hampers their own chances of receiving adequate conventional care. It also potentially seriously reduces the number of qualified physicians who are available to treat people in need.

Sources

Levine, Jeff. ‘Boutique Medicine: For Your Well-Being? Or the Doctor’s?’ AARP Bulletin Today. 18, April 2008.

Insure.com, ‘Buy Your Own Doctor’, December 2009, retrieved from: http://www.insure.com/articles/healthinsurance/concierge-medicine.html, 05/20/2013

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