By Caroline K. Stratz, M.D.
I have known since the age of 8 that I wanted to be a doctor. I love the idea of getting to know my patients, treating them when they are ill and doing my best to keep them healthy as they age. I decided to become an internist with the intention that I could do all of the above and more.
However, as I approach 20 years in medicine, I have noticed that ideal way of practicing has become more and more difficult with the changing climate of health care. Unfortunately, shorter appointment times, increased regulations and the loss of a true physician-patient relationships are becoming the new normal.
After careful thought, I realize that while I may not be able to change the system, I can change the way I choose to care for my patients.
I have decided to enter the world of concierge medicine, where patients are truly at the center of care. There is no doubt that the best care comes from a physician who really knows you – not just as a set of symptoms, but as a person affected by a unique combination of lifestyle, environmental and genetic factors. The smaller patient panel that defines concierge medicine means that I can provide more of that most precious resource: time.
There will be time to listen with a sympathetic ear and address all questions and concerns at each visit; to focus on wellness, not just illness; and to be available whenever needed, if not in the office, then by text or cellphone.
I want to be able to see my patients when they are sick, not three weeks afterward. I want to know about their families, who is caring for an ailing parent and who is sending a child off to college. I want to practice the way every patient deserves to be treated – with empathy and time, not rushed and detached.
The decision to change my practice has not been an easy one. I realize that this model may not be the right choice for all of my patients. However, it is important to me that I continue to care for my patients the way I believe they should be, and this is something I will not compromise.
Our community is special. We are well educated, active and interested in healthy aging. I can think of nothing more rewarding than to help my patients enjoy the best quality of life possible, at every age.
If you’d like to learn more, I encourage you to schedule a meeting at my new office. We’ll have all the time we need to get acquainted.
Dr. Caroline K. Stratz’s practice is located at 205 South Drive, Suite A, Mountain View. For more information, call 969-6000 or visit carolinestratzmd.com.