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Medicine Is About to Get Personal – A New Model

William Jordan William Jordan , 8/31/2015
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HealthInsurance1What if the way you paid for your primary doctor was altered to benefit you? What if patients paid for primary care a fixed fee instead of paying for every single service separately? Qliance offers a new approach to health care. Instead of performing unnecessary tests and over-treating patients, Qliance believes doctors should spend time to get to know their patients, to learn their medical history, and diagnose symptoms then and there. David Von Drehle, author of Medicine Is About to Get Personal, argues that if “we fix the way primary-care doctors are paid...we can cut unneeded tests, premature procedures and excessive ER visits.” In order to reduce the number of ER visits, patients should spend more time with their primary care physician. Good primary care allows for quicker diagnoses and quicker remedies, unlike the fee-for-service method which “pays mainly for treating disease, not preventing it.” Which brings us to the topic of payment. Von Drehle argues that patients should pay for their primary care directly, thus avoiding the specialty care and hospitalization costs that we all wish to avoid. Von Drehle later states that “car insurance doesn’t cover oil changes, and homeowners’ insurance doesn’t cover house paint,” suggesting that health insurance shouldn’t pay for “your annual checkup or your kid’s strep swab” but instead for the specialty care that could possibly be needed. Qliance uses the idea of a flat fee for all patients instead of the fee for service that we are familiar with now. One flat rate for primary care visits instead of fee after fee for each test that is scheduled. Expedia, among other big name companies, decided to put Qliance’s theory to the test. After a year of providing direct primary care to its employees, including direct access to doctors via text or email, “95% said they were satisfied” with the new healthcare idea. Patients were thrilled with the professional, but personal, relationships they were creating. Qliance’s ultimate goal is to provide the best care to their patients, while lowering the overall cost of healthcare.  While Qliance’s idea is still growing and developing, the effect it has had thus far seems to be moving in a positive direction. Stay tuned for part 2 - The Real Test on Wednesday. The full article is titled Medicine Is About to Get Personal by David Von Drehle.