What is Pediatric Concierge Medicine?
Pediatric concierge medicine, in the most basic terms, describes the practice of a pediatrician or pediatric provider coming to your home to care for your child instead of you having to take your child into a doctor’s office for that same care. In-home visits provide the ultimate in comfort and convenience for families, replacing commutes, waiting rooms and potential exposure to sick children. Many pediatric concierge providers accept insurance as well, eliminating any cost differential that can often be a barrier for families.
Concierge Medicine Today conducted a patient survey and discovered that the number one reason people leave the more traditional in-office doctor setting to seek the care of a concierge provider is because of the long wait times and inconvenience (20%). Coming in a close second and third are feeling like a number (18%) and the provider asking fewer than five questions during the visit (16%). Time is a precious commodity and people want to spend more time with their providers and less time accessing them.
People have become so accustomed to commuting to and from a doctor’s office and waiting to see a provider that they fail to consider how much time this process actually takes. Depending on where your pediatrician’s office is located and how backed up they are, you can easily spend a couple of hours for a 10-minute, face-to-face appointment. Beyond commute and wait times, taking a child to a doctor for a well-child visit or when they are ill or injured can involve taking time off of work or caring for other children.
Related: The Value of Pediatric House Calls
Whether you are looking for convenience, more personal time with your child’s pediatrician or any other reason, it is important to assess whether pediatric concierge medicine is right for your family. Here are several considerations that will play into how you answer that question.
The location of your home in relation to a provider may help you determine whether pediatric concierge medicine is a good fit for your family. If you live within a few miles of your pediatrician’s office, it may not be too inconvenient for you to get your child to the appointment. Even so, having a provider come to you still offers value in terms of convenience.
Location is more of a factor if you live further away from your pediatrician’s office or in a remote area. Your travel time can increase dramatically in these circumstances and even more so if your child’s appointment time puts you in rush hour traffic. For instance, if you don’t want your child to miss classes, you may schedule their well-check appointment during their school lunch time or at the end of the school day. It can take hours to pick up a child from school for a well-child appointment, drive them across town to the pediatrician and then home or to their after-school activity during high traffic times.
Instead, you could schedule a pediatric concierge appointment for when your child normally gets home from school, never having to pull them out of school or sit for hours commuting in your car. The concierge provider will follow the same well-child examination protocols as an in-office doctor, including administering the appropriate vaccinations.
For families that live in remote areas, you may or may not be able to find a provider who offers pediatric concierge medicine. Providers often have limits to how far they will travel, however, some specifically target more remote locations in order to offer these families equal access to quality care. If a provider is unable to come to your home, keep in mind that some pediatric pediatricians offer telemedicine appointments where location is not a factor. You can leverage these appointments as often as possible to at least reduce how often you have to drive to a provider.
Related: Does Pediatric Telemedicine Work?
Your Work Schedule
More families than ever have working parents. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2019 that among married-couple families with children, 97.5 percent had at least one employed parent and 64.2 percent had both parents employed. That means the majority of parents must figure out who can take time off of work to take their child to the pediatrician.
Depending on your employer’s policies, you may have to take a sick day or personal time off to take your child to the doctor, even if you work from home. More flexible employers may allow you to leave work whenever necessary without penalty, but you are still losing productivity time. Time out of the office can create headaches later as you try to catch up.
Concierge medicine makes it easier to schedule appointments that better align with your and your child’s schedule. If you work in a home office and your child is sick at home, the only time you have to take off is during the actual in-home examination. No commute or wait times means you can limit downtime dramatically.
Your Child’s Needs
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that nearly one out of every five children in the United States have a special healthcare need. The CDC says that these children “require more care for their physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional differences than their typically developing peers.” They go on to say that children with special healthcare needs “may have a hard time moving from one place to another” or “have trouble with transitioning to different situations.”
For these reasons, pediatric concierge medicine can be a good alternative, enabling parents to minimize their child’s movement or transitioning them from the familiarity and comfort of their own home for routine pediatrician appointments. The concierge provider will be able to take the time to get to know your child and his or her needs, establish a personal relationship, and monitor their condition and progress over time in ways the in-office providers often struggle to do simply because they have so many patients.
The Shift to Concierge
Pediatric concierge medicine enables providers to spend that extra time with families in a comfortable setting with less stress. If you are considering transitioning to this service model, it is worth your time to talk with pediatric concierge providers to determine who you and your child connect with, who offers in-home visits in your area, what services they provide at what cost, whether they accept health insurance, and how their practice operates.
Concierge pediatrics is growing in popularity for practitioners and families for many reasons. When it comes to ensuring your children have quality medical care, you have options. Remember that you always have the ability to try both in-office and concierge medicine before you make a final decision. After a few appointments, you will know if pediatric concierge medicine is right for you and your family.