Around the world, private medical insurance is increasingly seen as an important element of employee benefits. Even in countries with universal social insurance or healthcare provision, health services are increasingly cash-strapped. Many individuals see private (and for that, read ‘employer-provided’) medical insurance as essential.
However, getting the most out of your private medical insurance is not always easy. Many people find it hard to find the right practitioner, or identify who will provide the best value for money. With initial consultations starting at upwards of several hundred pounds, it pays to get it right first time.
Companies, too, are keen for their employees to get good value from health insurance. They have a serious incentive to ensure that their employees see the right person, and get the right treatment, to minimise time off sick. Increasingly, therefore, companies around the world are turning to medical concierge services such as Medstars Concierge to guide employee choices.
Understanding concierge services
A medical concierge service is similar in principle to the idea of a concierge in a hotel. A hotel concierge would use their knowledge and experience of the city to provide advice about which shows or tourist attractions to visit. They would base their recommendation on both their own experience, and also what other guests had told them. They would also consider the preferences of the guest who has sought advice.
Medical concierge services do the same. They draw on their experience of healthcare and practitioners to provide recommendations about practitioners, tailored to the patient’s diagnosis and preferences. At Medstars, for example, each patient has an initial chat with a Medstars doctor. They are able to discuss their diagnosis, and also their preferences for practitioners, for example, geographical location. Medstars doctors then use their expertise and knowledge to identify a shortlist of recommended specialist practitioners in the UK. The patient can talk through the options with a Medstars doctor, before choosing a specialist. Medstars will even book the appointment for them, taking all the stress out of the process.
Some concierge services are linked to just two or three clinics, so they will only recommend practitioners based at those clinics. Others may offer their services for free to patients, but be paid in commission by the provider. This means that they are more likely to recommend certain providers or clinics. Others, like Medstars, are independent. They charge a fee to the patient or employer, and therefore work directly for the patient. The only commission that Medstars accepts is for scans, which are fairly standard.
Medstars Concierge also scores because it is run by doctors. They are able to draw on their understanding of the patient’s condition to identify the precise area of specialty needed. They can also use their extensive networks of contacts to find the right person. Of course patients could do their own research, but they do not have this ‘inside line’ to the medical profession.
Why contract with a medical concierge service?
As a company, you may be wondering why you should contract with a medical concierge service. After all, if your employees need that kind of service, they are free to engage with it. That is, of course, true. However, it is often not until individuals have tried several ‘wrong’ practitioners that they realise that a concierge service might be able to help. It is, in other words, seen as a ‘last resort’. However, by the time they reach this point, many have already been off work for a considerable time. For employers, therefore, it makes more sense to offer access to a medical concierge service as a ‘first port of call’.
Contracting with a medical concierge service as an employer means that you have peace of mind that your employees will be seen by the right person, first time. With Medstars, you will also know that they are visiting a regulated practitioner, and that they will get the best possible treatment for their condition. It makes sense, because it means that your investment in their health—that is, your provision of private medical insurance—will not go to waste. It is, in fact, the logical ‘next step’ once you have started to offer employee private medical insurance.
The coming AI dimension
Today, most patients expect to compare consultants and experts based on their expertise and experience. But increasingly, the effectiveness of any individual clinician is being boosted by the analytics they use. Soon, a concierge service will also be able to help make sense of all the different permutations of professionals and the machines they choose to supplement them.
It can be hard to navigate the choppy waters of private healthcare. A medical concierge service, especially one that is independent of any particular provider, provides a pilot to help your employees reach the right destination.
Disclosure: 6 Revs’ contributing editor, Melissa Leffler, is also Lead Content Writer for Medstars.