The health-care industry is changing. In a couple of years, U.S. health care may be troubled by overcrowded emergency rooms, overbooked primary care offices, lengthy waits for appointments and overreliance on imaging and lab technologies rather than critical thinking.

Advances in telemedicine and the growth of concierge health-care services, however, provide wealthy families with more options when it comes to getting quality medical care.

Concierge medicine should at the least provide clients with rapid access to their local physician's office. It should also include two key-and often lifesaving-resources for client families:
Immediate diagnosis and treatment: In an emergency, no matter the time or place, a doctor must be available to diagnose, initiate and guide medical care.
Longevity planning: A formal strategy must be designed and monitored by a physician to achieve maximal health.

To meet these fundamental requirements, caregivers have two options: A physician and support staff that can handle clients around the clock or, more practically, telemedicine.

Telemedicine, it should be noted, has advanced substantially in recent years. Emergency treatment and diagnosis, as well as substantial primary care, can now be delivered over large distances, on demand. Telemedicine is also effective for managing chronic conditions.

Telemedicine often includes provisioning clients' homes with the equipment and medications they need for remote care. Databases of pre-qualified doctors and hospitals around the world and electronic medical records are also among the components of a quality telemedicine platform.

The Case For Immediate Telediagnosis And Treatment
A 52-year-old CEO was on a trip to Dongguan, China, to close a partnership with an electronics manufacturer. He contracted a cold ten days earlier in Jakarta, Indonesia, but had recovered. That Saturday morning, however, he awoke at his hotel with paralysis on the left side of his face, a sign that he may have been having a stroke.

For this CEO, or anybody above the age of 40, the greatest risk in a medical emergency lies in what physicians call the "golden hour"- the window of time after a traumatic injury when intervention has the greatest chance of saving the patient's life.

Concierge medical services with telemedicine capabilities offer the immediate response that is required in such situations. Moreover, the concierge provider can develop a local hospitalization contingency plan as part of a client's trip preparations, including plans for medical jet evacuations.

In this case, the CEO called our firm and was immediately connected with a doctor through a video connection on his iPhone. The transmitted picture was literally worth a thousand words. The left side of his face was indeed paralyzed, but he was able to wrinkle the left side of his forehead. This subtle detail told the entire story. Rather than a stroke, this was a classic case of Bell's Palsy: a temporary paralysis of the facial nerve.