1. Can I Afford It?
2. Are the Extras Worth the Fee?
- An expanded physical of up to 90 minutes. One of the many things I like about my internist is that he already allows plenty of time to talk about my health concerns and offer advice. I don't need more time. Nor do I think I need more tests as part of my physical. Many health authorities are questioning the need for annual physicals. A Danish research team found no benefit to the risk of death or serious illness among apparently healthy people who had general checkups compared to those who did not. The American Academy of Family Physicians itself has recommended against routine annual EKG screenings of asymptomatic patients -- a screening I've been getting every year as part of my annual physical. Sounds like my "less is more" mantra applies here.
- Cutting-edge, Web-based research in any area of health concerns. I enjoy doing my own online investigations. The concierge brochure gives as an example of this benefit the use of a drug-interaction model to check on how my various medications interact. I showed the description of this model to my CVS pharmacist, who said it was the same model they use. Just this week, she informed me a pain medication my internist prescribed showed a potential interaction with my Parkinson's medications (which are known to my internist).
- "You will continue to have 24/7 access to the on-call doctor" at my internist's group and "every effort will be made to contact your personal doctor 24/7 for assistance with serious medical problems" As the word "continue" suggests, I think I already have this benefit.
- A secure internet site for e-mail communication with your doctor. This I like!
- An electronic summary of your health records on both a thumb drive and a secure internet site. This is also a nice addition.
How good a diagnostician is my internist?