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Why Personalized Concierge Medicine Is the Future of Health

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personalized-concierge-medicine

Concierge medicine used to be something reserved for celebrities and the ultra rich, and it didn’t seem accessible to us mere mortals. The concept is great — having a doctor who you know and trust and who is always available when you need him/her.

I’ve loved the idea of it for years, and was so excited when I finally found an affordable and personalized option that made this available to everyone. In fact, when combined with healthcare sharing, our family has found that we save money and receive drastically better care than more traditional models.

What Is Concierge Medicine?

In short, concierge medicine is an arrangement between a patient and a doctor where a patient pays a set amount each month (retainer). This usually entitles the patient to better access to the doctor and better care. This arrangement can also be called direct care, boutique medicine, or membership medicine.

The idea has become more popular recently through shows like Royal Pains, and through growing publicity about such arrangements with celebrities and their doctors. Essentially, this type of arrangement can apply to any type of doctor/patient relationship where the patient pays a regular retainer, though sometimes other fees are involved too. These arrangements can be local with primary care doctors, or increasingly, online to allow access to specialists and more personalized care.

Personally, our family uses a customized platform called SteadyMD that allows us to have direct access to our primary care doctor who shares our values and understands our medical needs. Here’s how we use it and why we love it…

Benefits of  Concierge Medicine

This new model seems to be growing in response to the ever-expanding problems in healthcare that affect the patient and the doctor. Unconventional arrangements like these can often create a better system for both the doctor and the patient. Here are some of the benefits of concierge medicine:

Personalized Care

Having experienced concierge medicine first hand, I can vouch for the benefits to the patients!

Here’s the thing… When I set out to find my own health answers, I eventually found just that. My own health answers. The more I learn, the more I realize that there truly is no one-size-fits-all. Not even close! Short of some things that seem universally true, like the dangers of heavy metals and plastic exposure, there really is no perfect diet or lifestyle that applies to everyone, as we’re all so different.

Yet chronic disease is on the rise and we all need more specific and personalized answers. This is where personalized medicine like concierge really shines. By reducing the patient load and establishing a more intimate relationship between doctor and patient, it allows the doctor to dive deeper and look for root causes and establish lifestyle interventions for the patient.

Also, instead of an urgent care physician or teledoc who sees dozens of patients a day, a direct care relationship like this allows the doctor to be familiar with the patient’s health history and is able to address problems more quickly and thoroughly.

More Time and Less Stress for the Doctors

Just like patients, many doctors are suffering and stressed due to the current medical model of patient overload, and the situation seems to be getting worse. Just a few decades ago 70% of doctors practiced primary care. That number is now 30% and shrinking as many doctors opt to specialize right out of medical school.

On top of that, most doctors are having to see more and more patients to meet basic rent and to cover the rising cost of insurance.

I’ve always had a lot of respect for doctors and really believe that they often come from a desire to help others. It would be tough to make it through that many years of school if they didn’t! I have also talked to many doctors who are frustrated by the limitations of the regular medical model and more and more are turning to concierge medicine instead.

As an example, I now have a primary care doctor through Steady MD, an online/app concierge medicine system that connects patients with doctors who share their values and can address their specific needs. My doc has less than one third of the patients most doctors have, which allows him to know my medical history and have time to dive deep when I have an issue.

He is available via their mobile app, e-mail, text, or phone when I need him and since his hours are more flexible and his patient load is lighter, he is quick to respond and always super helpful. He loves what he does and I love that I can always reach him when I need to!

More Affordable Care

Years ago, we were paying over $1,000 a month for a high deductible plan that was almost useless when we needed it. I couldn’t access the doctors and specialists I needed because they were out of network and the out-of-pocket expense was so high. I felt helpless and stuck.

Now, our family uses a combination of healthcare sharing and concierge medicine through SteadyMD. We save so much money while getting the best care we’ve ever received.

Here’s what I mean:

The total we pay for both of these is hundreds of dollars less than what we paid for traditional insurance. Usually there are no other out of pocket expenses. Our inexpensive monthly retainer for SteadyMD lets us access our doc anytime we need to with no co-pay or extra charge. Whenever there is a medical issue or need, our doctor helps us navigate it, and healthcare sharing reimburses the cost.

I’ve saved countless dollars by being able to text or video chat my doc a picture of one of my kids to see if they needed stitches or medication and not had to go to urgent care or the ER. When I’ve been traveling in other states or countries and needed something, my doc was able to help.

How to Find Direct Care Concierge Medicine

This was the tricky part for me initially. I was familiar with the model for a long time before I found a way to make it affordable and efficient.

A growing number of doctors are offering this model on a local level, though I could never find these options where we lived and these doctors don’t seem to always understand issues like MTHFR, genetic problems, and autoimmune disease.

I turned to a digital platform that solved both of these issues! The digital aspect allows the doctors to be licensed and work with people in multiple states and without the need for physical office buildings, and costs are lower. Additionally, I could select a doctor who understood my condition (in fact, he has Hashimoto’s too!) and who shares my values. He isn’t quick to recommend antibiotics if they aren’t needed, and he understands nutrition.

Ask Questions

With any concierge or direct care model, it is important to ask questions first. Make sure that the doctor you work with understands your needs and any specific conditions or concerns you have. Ask how the model works, what the fees and costs are, and what specifically you receive in return.

Read the Fine Print

Just as with any big decision in life, make sure to read the fine print carefully. Make sure to understand all costs associated and read carefully to see if there are extra fees for visits or any other hidden charges.

What I Chose and Why

As I said, this was something I thought was out of reach for a long time. Then, a friend introduced me to the idea of digital concierge medicine and I was intrigued. This model basically combines the best of technology and the best of personalized care.

The digital aspect makes it affordable…$169/month for a family plan two parents and all kids. This also allows the doctors to take fewer patients so they have more time and attention for each patient.

Essentially, it feels like the modern equivalent of a country medicine doctor who comes to your house when you have a medical need. Except it makes the best use of technology so we get instant access instead via text, email or even video chat.

This model has been a great option for our family, and I’m so glad that SteadyMD is helping make this type of personalized and customized medicine available to everyone. I also know I had a lot of questions before I considered signing up. I wanted to know what the process looked like and how it worked. I’m sharing my experience here in case you have similar questions.

How SteadyMD Works

  1. They partner you with a doctor who understands your medical conditions, needs and concerns. I was partnered with a doctor who also has Hashimotos.
  2. During your first (video chat or phone) appointment, your doc goes deep on your personal and family medical history. He or she listens to your questions, asks about nutrition and lifestyle and can even retrieve medical records from other doctors and hospitals if needed. I talked to my doctor for an hour and he was very familiar with genetics, autoimmune disease and answered all the questions I had.
  3. Then, you have access to your doc anytime. You can text, call or video chat anytime from any device. I usually use my phone and just text or chat within the app. This has been especially helpful when kids got minor illnesses or injuries and I wanted advice on if they needed more care.
  4. When you need it, the doctor is there to help. They can prescribe medications, order labs, and even work with other specialists when needed (at no extra cost). Also, since these physicians have more bandwidth and are less stressed, they have time to talk about lifestyle and preventative care too.
  5. The app can even integrate with health and fitness apps (if you choose to do that) and let your doc have access to your diet and exercise data and full health history.

TIP: I’ve found that having a digital otoscope is really helpful if you’re including your kids in the membership. this lets you send high res images of the ear drum to a doc if needed so they can evaluate remotely.

Final Thoughts…

I’m so glad I made the switch to this type of medical care, especially when I combined it with Samaritan Ministries. This model may not be for everyone, but it is perfect for those of us with specific conditions, questions, or lifestyle preferences, and for those of us who like to be actively involved in our own health care decisions.

Local options are available in some places, but the digital platform through SteadyMD has been the best of both worlds for me. In a world where we can order our groceries and anything we need through an app, and pay bills online anytime, I love that I now can access my doctor in the same way and not have to drive anywhere or sit and wait for hours in a doctors office to then only get 5 minutes of actual face time with him.

I was so excited about making concierge medicine available to everyone, that I even decided to personally invest in the company and work with them to make their system even better for moms and families (you can check out my podcast episode all about that here). I’ve been so impressed with their doctors, that I asked their Chief Medical Advisor, Dr. Scott Sorries, to head up the new medical review team here at Wellness Mama. He’s helping make sure all of the posts you read here are accurate and informative.

If you’ve been looking for a truly personalized and attentive care option, I highly recommend Steady MD!

Ever heard of this type of medicine? Ever used it? Share below!

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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high

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(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine

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(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states

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In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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