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Why are more patients opting for Direct Primary Care?

Direct Primary Care (DPC) is gaining popularity in the US. Independent physicians often start direct care practices because they want to spend more time with their patients. They may convert an existing practice, leave a larger practice, or open a new practice based on the direct care model, which usually means seeing fewer patients during the day.

One of the challenges of the current physician burnout crisis is the sheer number of providers. In a traditional practice model, the independent physician may feel pressured to see more patients during the day in order to meet insurance reimbursement requirements and cover practice overhead.

Why patients choose Direct Primary Care providers?

Below are a few points that indicate why patients opt for Direct Primary Care providers:

Making an appointment

Traditional experience: Making a physician’s appointment can be stressful. Because physicians under the fee-for-service model are so overworked, a patient may have to wait several weeks or even months to see their practitioner.

DPC experience: Under the DPC model, patients can usually see their primary care physician the following day, if not the same day. Those appointments are also more likely to last longer and have little to no waiting time in the office. PatientMD offers telemedicine options, adding convenience to the experience.

Seeing the Physician

Traditional experience: In this scenario, patients spend little to no time with doctors, and even when they do, it is spent with the doctor typing information into a computer rather than addressing patient concerns. Instead, doctors are forced to devote their time to administrative tasks such as obtaining prior authorization to treat patients and filing every action into a complex insurance schema in order to be reimbursed. It’s such an unpleasant experience that many people avoid going to the physician altogether unless they really have to. 

DPC experience: Doctors are free to set longer appointments and spend more time with patients under the DPC model. Telemedicine (via audio, video, and chat) is best used in medically appropriate situations. It makes treatment more convenient and eliminates the need for unnecessary face-to-face consultations when telemedicine can suffice. These options are ideal for treating minor medical issues or simply checking in on existing treatment plans. Because primary care physicians are incentivized to keep patients healthy, the emphasis can be on developing a holistic health care plan that prevents illness, improves positive outcomes, and keeps an eye on long-term health wins. The PatientMD platform gives patients access to and control over their clinical data, laying the groundwork for healthcare transformation. Our patient engagement tools like Appointment Scheduler, Network EHR, Telemedicine, Messaging can play a key role in that patient’s healthcare outcomes.

Paying for healthcare costs

Traditional experience: The fee-for-service model means that patients must typically pay a co-pay to see their primary care physician in addition to some of the costs for treatment during the visit, depending on what their insurance company covers. Insurance companies pay physicians for their services, and the amount paid depends on the number of services they provide. As a patient sees more doctors, the situation becomes more complicated. Patients are frequently left to navigate their own healthcare journey among multiple doctors on their own. Doctors who practice on a fee-for-service basis frequently lack the technology and are not incentivized to help coordinate patient care across the continuum. Patients may have a frustrating – and costly – experience as a result of this.

DPC experience: Patients in the DPC model pay a single monthly flat fee to have access to their primary care physician and a wide range of services. When patients' health — and health-care costs — are kept in check, DPC doctors benefit. In the case of referrals to specialists, it is also in the primary care physician's best interest to ensure that patients have the best chance of a positive outcome. This is significant because they are paid a flat monthly fee for all services, incentivizing them to provide effective high-quality care. Patients benefit from not being surprised by bills or hidden costs, as well as knowing that their doctor is on their side.

DPC: The PatientMD Way

PatientMD is a unified platform that orchestrates and personalizes patient engagement with a variety of digital tools in order to improve the patient experience and drive outcomes for primary care providers. We provide patient access, engagement, and care coordination solutions that decrease patient leakage and improve communication between providers and patients. Our telemedicine services allow patients to easily coordinate care with their doctor via audio, video and chat. This high-quality, low-cost health care goes beyond the primary care doctor's office. To know more about our services, register on our platform today!