Unsatisfied with the status Quo?
Are you sick of waiting in your doctors office? Tired of 15 minute appointments, and difficulty contacting your doctor when you need something between appointments?
While the conventional medical system is excellent at providing care for anyone who needs it, a GP’s workload means that they often cannot spend time getting to the root cause of your health concern, talk about preventative measures or discuss multiple concerns in the span on one appointment. It also means you usually have to call the office and rely on reception to get a message to your physician. Same day appointments are not usually available meaning that treating an illness at the onset is not always possible.
At a recent AIMA conference (Australasian Integrative Medical Association), I spoke to a number of disillusioned GP’s who felt completely torn and depressed. In the span of their short appointment, they only had time to ask their patients about major symptoms, write a script or refer to someone else, when the realised that what their patients really needed was time to talk about what was really going on, or learn about how to eat well. Many also stated that if they didn't have a reception full of patients waiting to be seen, they would have wanted to get to know their patients better and see if they could unearth some of the deeper reasons their patients were suffering.
Integrative medicine differs from conventional medicine in that it explore the root cause of chronic conditions, focuses on prevention and patient education, utilises more than just drugs and surgery, and aims to get to know a patient as a whole person, vs just a collection of physical symptoms.
A great example from my own practice of integrative medicine is working with a women diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. She had seen her GP for depressive symptoms, been put on an antidepressant, then later when it did not help she was sent to a psychiatrist. He decided to treat her for bipolar. She came to see us to help mitigate medication side effects. Her TSH and thyroid hormone level (T4) was always a bit wonky but her GP assumed it was from the medication. We took a full case discussing her childhood history, history of mood disorder, her home and work environment, stressors, nutritional status and much more. Based on what she told us, we ordered a full thyroid panel, as well as hormones, and looked at markers of inflammation and gut function. Sure enough she was highly inflamed, had intestinal permeability and thyroid antibodies were through the roof! When we addressed all of this over the year, her mood symptoms resolved and she was able to stop the medications (with her psychiatrist's support).
Unlike integrative medicine which looks at the whole person, conventional medicine tends to compartmentalise things. If you have mood symptoms you should see a psychiatrist or psychologist, if you have hormonal symptoms you are sent to an endocrinologist. The problem is there often isn't great communication between the specialties. Conventional medicine also tends to see disease as happening to you, often due to bad luck. Integrative medicine philosophy understands that our environment, diet, psychology, genetics and epigenetics all play an important role in determining if we get sick.
Enter Concierge Medicine
After practicing integrative medicine in the Bahamas in an insurance and cash based practice I realised there had to be a better way. Integrative medicine isn’t a quick fix and clients need to work with their practitioner to develop longer term plans for best results. The concierge model is the perfect delivery mechanism for integrative and functional medicine. Concierge or membership based medicine is simply a model where clients do not pay per appointment but rather a monthly fee, like a gym membership or having a lawyer on retainer, for various services.
Our members pay a monthly fee to have unlimited support, in office or telemedicine based appointments, and access to a team of practitioners including myself, Dr V, our human performance health coach Ben, and Beth our amazing naturopath. The membership also bundles in PhysioAge, our physiological age assessment testing, so we can address mild dysfunction before it becomes a diagnosis.
Our membership program means we can limit the amount of clients each practitioner sees allowing ample time and same or next day appointments (online or in person). We can spend as much time as needed after appointments to answer questions you may have regarding your treatment plan and check in to make sure you are on the right path. After our initial testing and strategy sessions we create year-long personalised health roadmaps to help you achieve your goals. We also have a GP on hand to help with blood work.
The program is suited to highly motivated clients, who are ready to take responsibility for their health and are ready to do what it takes. We work as a team, and include both health coaching and consulting, so you can discover your own inner resources, and feel empowered and supported throughout your journey. Our clients span those with chronic diseases looking to regain their health, to ones interested in biohacking their health to gain peak performance in business, sport & life in general.
If you are highly motivated to reach your health and wellness goals, and want to work with a team who will fully support you on your personal journey to optimal health, send us a message and apply for our concierge program! We currently have spaces available but will close the program to new clients when we reach 100 active members.
Stop being a patient, and become a member, so you never have to be patient waiting on your doctor.