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by Ashish Mehta, CEO at PatientClick, Inc.

Concierge medicine is gaining popularity among physicians and patients. Watch for adoption rates to soar in 2018, as more patient-consumers actively seek out doctors willing to shift away from fee-for-service care toward a more economical approach based on monthly membership fees that cover everything except additional services from external labs and testing facilities.

Here are some advantages for providers and their patients.

1. A fixed monthly payment allows physicians to manage cash flow more efficiently. No more waiting weeks or even months for insurance reimbursements. The patient assumes all financial responsibility and pays for services upfront.

2. The fixed-payment business model creates a realistic and achievable minimum income budgeting tool.

3. With a concierge plan, doctors reduce their patient load, while increasing revenue. Patients enjoy more face-time, doctors focus on service without watching the clock. This is especially helpful since physicians have ample time to look for subtle signs of illness such as pallor, cyanosis, tremors, and sweatiness that could be missed when the doctor is distracted or feeling rushed.

4. Modern technology and telemedicine perfectly complement concierge medicine. The combination empowers patients. Wireless devices today allow doctors to monitor heart rhythms in the real time for patients with A Fib or other anomalies from the comfort of their homes. No lengthy drive, no waiting room time, no more frustration when the heart pattern changes before the patient can be in front of their doctor for a traditional office visit.

5. And, it isn't just people with heart conditions that benefit. With smart watches and other wearable medical tech tools, vital information about blood pressure, glucose levels, temperature and other metrics can be accessed from anywhere. Just one click connects patients and their doctors.With so many benefits for everyone, we're predicting 2018 is going to be the year that virtual visits and concierge medicine become mainstream – the preferred method of delivering and receiving high-quality health care in the United States.

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