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Physician says new healthcare model will mean more time with patients
After 35 years of practice, Dr. Peter Schock found himself spending less and less time with patients, a fact that left him frustrated and discouraged. He rarely had time to explain the nuances of an issue or condition. But with a growing patient volume, he had little choice but to spread himself too thin.
It’s a phenomenon many today know as the “six-minute doctor’s visit.”
Now, a new healthcare model might help change that. MDVIP, a national network of physicians that caps patient loads to ensure more one-on-one time with doctors, launched its newest practice in Bellevue under Dr. Schock this December.
MDVIP, which charges an annual membership fee, part of which goes toward a comprehensive wellness exam, is based in Florida, and partners with 565 physicians nationwide. The model already has been implemented in Vancouver and other parts of Washington.
“I’m really looking forward to being able to extend myself, maybe even into home visits...which is something I haven’t done in the last 10 years,” said Schock of the freedom allowed him under the MDVIP model. “I can see the lifestyle and the environment these patients are living in, so that I can tweak it toward safer, happier health.”
The propensity for preventive care is a given. But Schock counts among the advantages to the model an ability to better tailor care to the city’s large foreign-born population, many of whom are unfamiliar with U.S. medicine, or have encountered new health concerns since moving to the States.
It can be difficult to provide care because of cultural misunderstandings, language barriers and an unfamiliarity with the health climate immigrants are coming from, says Schock, who has a particularly multicultural practice, with patients from Eastern Europe and India.
“Languages and cultures can act as a barrier, unless I can take the time to understand them better,” he adds.
Bellevue’s health care options reflect that. Sea Mar clinic, which has branches in Bellevue, specializes in care for the Latino population.
Derek Wing of Bellevue’s Bastyr University said that with international students making up 10 percent of their student body, he’s noticed many gravitate toward more “traditional” forms of medicine. Recently, Bastyr launched a new Ayruveda program, a method thousands of years old that has its roots in India. In off-site clinics, which target underserved communities, Wing says Bastyr teaches its future doctors to be cognizant of the community’s changing demographic.
But for the most part, health care is still catching up. Schock cites high anxiety and climbing diabetes rates, as two of the biggest health concerns: “Our American food culture is dangerous to foreign born. That’s the biggest thing I see. Secondary is the stress they feel as foreigners.”
To properly treat these ailments, Schock says he needs the extra time allowed by the MDVIP model to sit and explain to patients the link between lifestyle choices and health conditions.
An 85-year-old woman who is hard of hearing, comes to mind, Schock said. He has never been able to fully explain to her the different relationships between her health problems, and the medicine she is on. It’s an endemic problem in the health field.
“I’m looking forward to learning the context from which they come. Many come to the U.S. with all sorts of expectations that are different from my anticipation, and I’ve just been having to, in 25 minute segments, to intervene with the problem, without understanding what they’re expecting.”
Schock, who now expects to have 500 patients instead of his usual 3,000, hopes the added time will allow him to create a total health picture.
But the MDVIP model doesn’t just benefit foreign born. Mark Sklaroff, a patient of Schock's for the last 30 years, says that its focus on wellness and preventative care will be advantageous for everyone.
Physicians are able to practice personalized care that fits their own style, like organizing doctor-patient walks, or reintroducing home visits. Under the current status quo, Mark Murrison, MDVIP's President of Marketing & Innovation, says patients have become used to “conveyer belt” of care.
And the implications are huge. One study published in the American Journal of Managed Care, showed that for five consecutive years, the MDVIP model had reduced hospital visits significantly: by 79 percent for Medicare patients, and 72 percent for those with commercial insurance between the ages of 35-64.
"In the past if you wanted to see [Dr. Schock] quickly, as in any conglomerate practice, you get the first doctor available," said Sklaroff. "Under this set of circumstances you won't have to wait two to three weeks."
Sklaroff, who says Dr. Schock helped deliver his daughter, thinks the switch to more concentrated care is nothing but beneficial.
"It's going to be extraordinary not only for patients...but because now we can look into things that before we'd only looked into superficially."