We are in the midst of a revolution in how cancer patients and doctors interact. This seismic change is brought on by the combination of technological advances in communication and in new theories about how doctors can further customize and personalize your care. Their goal is to prolong your life while humanizing the process.
Today, you make appointments with each individual member of your care team: depending on your cancer type those team members may be a medical oncologist, urologist, surgeon, or radiation therapist. You book appointments with each individual provider well in advance. He reviews your case often minutes before walking into the exam room and spends maybe 30 to an hour with you. The bigger and busier the facility where he works, the shorter the time he spends. He makes recommendations, write prescriptions, orders tests or scans, or performs specific procedures and briefly explains why and how he was suggesting a given treatment path. Because there is another patient booked right after you, his time is limited and oftentimes your questions get answered by a nurse. If you have any follow-up questions, you can email or call later but responses are often slow in coming. For all of this your insurance is billed item by item.
This scenario is repeated for each specialist you see. Your medical records are dispersed across all the providers and referring physicians. Collating all that information into one record is difficult. And sometimes the right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing. Rarely is there one provider coordinating your care.
But what if there was a different way to approach caring for cancer patients?
In the concierge medicine model, you pay an annual fee or retainer in exchange for an in-depth relationship with your doctor rather than one that is based on a number of transactions. Your visits, because they’re not billed in the same way, are leisurely and more frequent. You enjoy constant contact with your doctor before and after each visit. He orders tests, prescribes, and refers you to other physicians based on your individual cancer’s progression, preferences, and needs as they change over time. He reviews all results and coordinates your care throughout your cancer journey. Because you develop a long-term relationship with him and because he is the one overseeing all aspects of your care, his approach is more proactive.
Recent advances in communication technology have altered the way doctors communicate with each other and with their patients. Text, video chat, email, and large-file sharing all mean that members of your care team can communicate faster and more efficiently with both you and each other.
Concierge medical practices leverage these new tools to coordinate your care and communicate with you. Your doctor may set up a Skype call with you in between appointments to see how you’re faring on a new medication and how an appointment with a referring physician went. He may text about your latest lab results or email the newest imaging study and then discuss how he thinks the information impacts your treatment. All of this data is shared centrally so he, the referring physicians, and his nurses can review.
The Immunogenetics Difference
Immunogenetics weds the power of concierge medicine with cutting edge communication tools to offer cancer patients everywhere truly personalized medicine. Our firm understanding of the role genomics and immunology play in cancer survival enables us to leverage this new patient model to offer you the best chance at a cure.