Posted by: AtlasMD

May 18, 2017

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What ACA Repeal & Replace Really Means for DPC.

The house voted. The bill passed. The ACA is changing, this we know. Depending on who you ask, this is either a really good thing, or a really bad thing.

This bill would be a tremendous improvement from the current system.  And in its latest form, the bill balances concerns about high costs and limited choice with protections for pre-existing conditions.

The ACA and leading replacement proposals rely on refundable tax credits to help individual market enrollees pay for premiums, although the credit amounts are set quite differently.

Even before the vote, some Republican senators had expressed deep reservations about one of the most important provisions of the House bill, which would roll back the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

It Doesn’t Matter How You Feel.

Okay, that’s a little harsh. It actually does matter how you feel. But even so, let’s put politics aside, yeah? Because those of us in Direct Care need to think about the bigger picture. Which is that very soon, lots of people are going to need what this platform has to offer. They’re going to need transparency like never before. They’ll need a quality relationship with their physician to come up with a plan unique to them…one that can’t be conjured up in seven minutes. They’ll need the flexibility to make healthcare work for their family instead of having to make their family adapt to the rules of healthcare.

Will We Be Ready?

Are our practices ready for them? How can we get more ready? Take the pulse of your community. Talk to them and see how they’re feeling, what their healthcare plans are, what they’re frustrated about. Be the one who helps explain all the things they don’t have time to research and understand themselves. Tell them how the Direct Care model accommodates for the areas traditional healthcare falls short. (Hint: transparency, time, efficiency, flexibility, availability, friendliness, quality…just to name a few) And then maybe. Just maybe you’ll feel comfortable thinking about the possibility of expanding. Hiring a new doc. Opening that second practice.

There are a whole bunch of ways to prepare your practice for a fuller patient panel. If you’re curious about any of them, we’re happy to help. Because your goal is to grow at a pace you’re comfortable with, while maintaining the lifestyle you want, and continuing to provide the quality care you went to med school to master.

Posted by: AtlasMD

May 11, 2017

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Direct Care Docs Have This. Traditional Docs Don’t.

After writing and rewriting the first sentence to this article about a hundred times, we realized there is no way to sugar coat it.

Direct Care docs have time. Traditional docs don’t.

There, we said it. We feel better. Let’s talk about why time is so valuable, and why us DPC docs love it so very much.

Time is something we all wish we had more of. Are always trying to carve it out. We crave it. 

Think about all the awesomeness time brings to the party. It lets you sink in and do extensive research between patient appointments without being interrupted to jump to the next thing. It lets you listen to your patients and read between the lines of what they’re saying about their lives. Time allows you to transition: to put the thing you just did behind you, so you can be present in the thing you’re about to do.

It’s not just about medicine, though. In fact, time allows you to step away from medicine and live a life outside those four walls. When you’re in charge of your schedule and your patient expectations are well met (time naturally allows you to accomplish this), you can immerse yourself in…whatever you want. You can take your kid to story time at the library at 10 a.m. Go to the car show after lunch. Hit the gym when the rest of the world isn’t there (no more waiting in line for machines!).

We’re ramming the importance of time down your throat for a reason.

Look, we all get the same 24 hours in a day. It is what it is. Rambling on and on about all the wonderful things you can do with time feels a little ridiculous at this point. But even so, it remains to be one of Direct Care’s biggest assets. And one of the recurring things docs in traditional healthcare never seem to have enough of.

Let’s lay out some of the things docs get fed up with over time, yeah?

  • Rushing patients in and out the door. Seven minutes, people. Clearly not enough time.
  • Having that mountain of paperwork looming at the end of the day because there isn’t enough time between appointments to do it properly. Nor can anyone else do it for you…
  • Medicine becomes your entire life; you don’t have time to do the other things you love with the people you love.
  • Having to bend to insurance rules and regulations because it’s how you get paid. And who has time to sit on the phone and argue about technicalities with an insurance rep for three hours? You’re supposed to have seen 25.7 patients in that amount of time…

The list goes on, but you get the idea. Time is important. We want more. DPC offers more.

It’s a simple truth you cannot and should not ignore.

Time is like a freaking breath of fresh air. You forget how good it feels until you’ve taken one. And once you have, you wonder why you didn’t inhale deeply like this before. And you want to keep doing it over and over and over. It brings clarity.

People think Direct Care is too good to be true. We’d be worried if you didn’t think that way, honestly. A lucrative career where you set your own hours and prices. Patients you get to make a real connection with. Money you get to save people on a daily basis. Healthcare you get to make accessible to everyone. A business you get to run on your own terms. Time to do it all really well.

But it is true. It’s a reality so many docs are living out today. We can’t shout it from the rooftop because, well, nobody would hear it, ironic as that is. But we can say it over and over again from this blog in hopes that a doc somewhere who’s fed up with never having enough time is looking for a better way.

Posted by: AtlasMD

May 8, 2017

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Practice From a Place of Joy.

If you look back on your time as a healthcare professional, can you pinpoint your most inspired moments? The times when you were on fire? You know, like that time you came up with a super unconventional treatment plan that worked really well. Or when you figured out how to get alternative treatment for a patient who seriously needed help but couldn’t swing it because of insurance restrictions. Or how about that time you listened to the nagging in the back of your mind, “randomly” called your patient to check in and learned they were in the middle of a medical crisis? You really saved the day that time.

Chances are you’ll recognize a common thread in all those moments of greatness. You were practicing from a place of joy. You loved your job. You were personally invested in your patients. You thought about work even when you weren’t at the office – and not in a bad way. You did what you did because it’s what you do and who you are. Your best work, your most thoughtful treatment plans, your most careful attention to detail, and your most inspired methods of communication come when you’re happy. 

What if you’re not practicing from a place of joy?

If you’re not there, if that’s not you, you’re missing out on all the good stuff. Seriously – healthcare is exhausting, challenging and rewarding all in the same five minutes, which makes for one hell of an emotional rollercoaster. But the joy. The joy makes it all worth it. It’s the why behind what you do. Or at least it should be. If it’s not, though, all is not lost so don’t worry. You can get there. There’s a way out. You can make changes in the way you practice medicine that relieve pressure, ease tension, and actually give you something to look forward to. Just ask the traditional family doc who loved seeing patients during the day but absolutely dreaded the mountain of paperwork waiting for him after the last one went home. He transitioned to Direct Care and put all that paper right through the shredder. Or you could ask the PA who was stressed from the very beginning of her morning because her first patient ran late and she knew the rest of the day would continue to spiral out of control. She opened a Direct Care practice and now gets to spend at least 30 minutes with each patient. Thirty. Minutes.

Oh, don’t forget to ask the veteran physician who had no desire to even practice anymore because of all the insurance rules and regulations (not to mention he’s tired of keeping up with billing codes). Instead of retiring, he chose DPC. Now he works when he wants to work, with patients he truly connects with, and deals directly with them instead of a mess of third party interferers.

Strive for joy. You owe it to yourself.

You were called to this profession. You may think you chose healthcare, but the really is that it chose you. You were meant for it, and you have a responsibility to do your very best work. You have an obligation to your patients to show them what genuine, personalized healthcare looks like. So strive for the joy that inspires your greatness. Do what you have to do to give your patients real value. If that means adjusting your hours to make sure you have time for you outside the office, do it. If it means getting into the office early to do extra research on the diagnosis you saw yesterday, do it. If it means reading that novel you’ve convinced yourself you don’t have time for, just do it. When you’re happy and you know it, your patients will, too. (Yeah, go ahead. Clap your hands…)

DPC paves the way for joy.

Let’s pretend you’re in a traditional healthcare environment and you’re feeling…stuck. Frustrated. Irritated. Burnt out. Anything other than joyful. You may not have the flexibility to create joy yourself, but remember that “way out” from earlier? It’s Direct Care. Direct Primary Care is the path to joy. The path to running your practice the way you’ve always wanted to. The paved road leading straight to healthy doctor-patient relationships.

When the surefire way to cut bureaucratic red tape and practice medicine from a place of joy invites you over for dinner, you accept. It’s just that simple. (Psst. DPC is sending you an invitation right now!!!)

So have you recalled the last time you were really, really great at practicing medicine? Maybe it was yesterday and fresh in your mind. Or maybe it was so long ago you barely remember how intense that kind of rush feels. Either way, we hope you crave more of it.

Posted by: AtlasMD

May 5, 2017

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How Do You Spend Your Pajama Time?

Pajama time. You’ve heard of it, right? It’s the time most traditional docs spend at home catching up on paperwork from the day. You can just picture it. The rest of the house is asleep, the clock on the bedside table reads some insane hour, and even though all the doc wants to do is snooze after a long day, she’s propped up on a pillow shuffling papers around by nightlight.

DPC docs still have pajama time, but it looks a liiiiitle different. There may be PJ’s involved, but that’s about the end of the list of similarities. Instead of checking off boxes and pouring over paperwork to make sure billing codes are spun the right way and hasty patient scribbles (ahem, notes) are properly transcribed, DPC docs do something else entirely.

They build their business. They schedule Facebook or Twitter posts, write articles for their blog, outline their next marketing campaign strategy. Things that add value to their practice and spread the word about what they have to offer. Or maybe they do some extra research on a treatment plan they’re scheming for an unconventional patient. Or maybe they respond to a text message from a worried mother whose two year old has a rising fever.

We don’t know about you, but if we had to choose, DPC PJ time seems like the waaay better option. Just sayin’.

Posted by: AtlasMD

April 28, 2017

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DPC Docs Aren’t Worried About Getting Paid for Desktop Medicine.

It’s all about the money, honey.

Not really, but this recent study from content.healthaffairs.org found out that physicians in a traditional healthcare environments spend about the same amount of time face-to-face with patients as they do providing desktop medicine – doing things like “communicating with patients through secure portals, responding to online requests for refills or advice, ordering and reviewing tests, and sending staff messages.” But they typically only get paid for office visits – because that’s what they can bill for.

“While working on progress notes could be considered pre- or post-service efforts, desktop medicine activities not linked to a face-to-face visit are not reimbursable under typical fee-for-service contractual and regulatory arrangements,” the [study] authors wrote. “Many of those activities — such as care coordination and responding to patients’ email — are of high value to the delivery system and to patients, so the staffing, scheduling and design of primary care practices should reflect this value.”

It’s getting harder and harder to get reimbursed for providing quality healthcare. Thanks a lot rules and regulations. Maybe that’s why docs feel pressured to squeeze an insane number of patients through their doors each day. So even if a doc spends the time to get the quality part right, she’s not getting paid for it. And one’s passion for his career and love of medicine can only go so far.

Direct Care Takes the Pressure Off of Getting Paid.

Those rules and regulations probably had good intentions, sure. But they’ve gotten so far out of hand and off track and wrapped up in themselves they wind up not making a whole lot of big picture sense. By eliminating all the third party nonsense that can cause such wonky-ness (if that’s not a word, it should be), Direct Care doctors have a solid payment structure already built into their business foundation. They don’t have to worry about what they’ll get reimbursed for. What insurance will cover, what billing code covers what. They deal directly with patients.

Plus. Time spent in the Atlas.md EMR can be as productive as time spent face-to-face with patients. In fact, depending on the patient’s needs it can even be more productive. When the doc can respond to text messages, emails, video chats, etc. directly from the EMR, they’re available for patients in the best way possible – on the patient’s terms.

There’s no pressure to spend a certain amount of time on one thing or another. There’s no mountain of paperwork looming at the end of the day. There’s no perpetual struggle to get paid based on what someone else thinks you’re worth.

There’s just you, and your patients. 100% of the time.

Posted by: AtlasMD

April 17, 2017

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Being a Doc Doesn’t Have to be Lonely!

The Student Doctor Thompson has some thoughts on what it means to be the “Good Doctor.” We’re paraphrasing here, but essentially, the “Good Doctor:”

Puts in the extra time to perfect the trade. They’re always available at a moment’s notice should anyone need their help. They have a good reputation because, well, their life is medicine. Most of my fellow residents look at the Good Doctor and hate his schedule but love his legacy. He works well beyond the age of retirement and has little to no life outside of medicine. The life of a doctor is a lonely one.

Thier friends have moved on… that tends to happen after you’ve neglected them through 4 year of premed, 4 years of med school and then residency. And even if they haven’t moved on, you have nothing left in common with them.

Whoa.

Heart-wrenching, right? But what really got us is what someone posted in the comments:

“The ‘Good Doctor’ sounds like he’d be a terrible husband and father.”

Or “wife and mother” if we’re being totally PC. But that one strikes a chord, doesn’t it? The notion that in order to do your job well as a physician means you gotta sacrifice literally everything else? Yeah, we docs love medicine, but we love other stuff, too. We love cars. We love public speaking. We love books, running, and movies. We love our families. And we don’t want to sacrifice any of those things. Good thing we don’t have to. 

Direct Care docs everywhere watched this video, immediately stood up and hollered at their computer screens: “IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY!” Are we right? Come on, you know we’re right.

Med school is hard. Nobody’s saying otherwise. But you’re not suffering through it just to spend endless hours filling out paperwork as part of a way to leave a legacy. You’re sacrificing now so you can help people. So we encourage you to learn more about Direct Primary Care. DPC provides you a rock solid platform and business model that literally gives you the gift of time. Time with your patients, time for yourself. Before you click off the page because it sounds too good to be true, give DPC its due diligence and read up.

* Check out the DPC Curriculum: https://atlas.md/dpc-curriculum/
* Read more of this blog: https://atlas.md/blog
* Talk to docs around the country who are doing it, and love it. https://www.iamdirectcare.com

Posted by: AtlasMD

April 12, 2017

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Feature Review: Have You Tried Video Calls Yet? (Plus a Challenge.)

We’ve been dying to ask – have you tried video calls yet?? If so, fantastic! If not, we’d like to challenge you to challenge yourself to serve your patients in a new way. You might not be totally comfortable with video, and we get that, but it’s not like you’re doing Facebook Live or anything. This is just a secure conversation between you and your consenting patient that takes place over video so you can see them clearly. (Don’t rely on their panicked description of how bad that cut is. See it for yourself!)

So it’s like FaceTime, or Skype — but better! Why is it better? Because using the app’s video call feature automatically records the vitals of the call in the patient’s activity stream, showing that the conversation took place, how, when, and its duration. That’s one less thing you have to notate later; five minutes you’ve freed up to do…well, whatever you want!

This video walks you through how to initiate the call, but you can also read through the details over here in this support article.

How have video calls worked for you in your practice? Hop over to the forum and share your story! It’s a great way to get new, creative ideas on running your practice. Plus, you’ll be helping others benefit from your experience. Win-win!

Posted by: AtlasMD

March 28, 2017

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Free Practice Management Consulting. Yup, We Do That.

You’re on an adventure. You might be just starting out. Or maybe you’re already into the woods. Your adventure is thrilling, satisfying, and a little bit scary.

The fun parts are fun. Really fun.

But do you ever wish you had a sounding board during the scary parts? Someone to help you weed through the tough stuff until it, too, becomes fun? Someone to bounce ideas off of to make sure you’re headed the right direction? Or get you unstuck from a problem you didn’t even know existed? Someone who knows how to help you reach your goal because they’ve helped other DPC practices do the very same thing?

It’s practice management consulting. It exists. It’s available to you. It’s free. Get all that?

It exists because we’ve done the leg work…and we’ve seen how helpful relying on the experience of those who have gone before you truly is.

It’s available to you because you’re passionate about Direct Care. We are, too.

It’s free because nobody on this end is interested in anything other than your success…and we don’t think you should have to pay for doing things right.

So, let’s talk about what practice management consulting really is, and what makes it so valuable to you. Aside from the fact that others charge hundreds of dollars for this information, and you’re getting it for free…

What’s Practice Management Consulting?

Practice management consulting is exactly what it sounds like – help managing your Direct Care practice. In every way, shape and form. You went to medical school and now you’re running every aspect of a business. It makes perfect sense that you don’t know everything there is to know about everything! It also makes perfect sense that you’ll need or want some help along the way. So whether it’s the accounting part you’re struggling with, or the marketing and sales part, or maybe the HR part, practice management consulting addresses even the smallest aspects of all of it. Read more

Posted by: AtlasMD

March 23, 2017

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Feature Review: Creating a New Pricing Tier

In Atlas.md, you can set specific pricing tiers so that your patients’ subscription automatically updates as they grow older. It’s one less thing you have to keep track of. And more free time for you to spend with patients. Or do research. Or plan dinner. Or golf. Or whatever. Learn (or remind yourself!) how to set up a new pricing in this video. Bookmark the corresponding support article if you feel like it, too.

Posted by: AtlasMD

March 20, 2017

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What Do You Love Most About Direct Care?

It’s becoming a really well-known fact that DPC works. The business model is solid; booming practices around the country are proving it. Docs who were admittedly nervous about stepping out of their traditional shells to explore what Direct Care had to offer are now emphatically shouting it’s goodness from their rooftops. It’s easy to see why. There’s a lot to shout about.

But we’re curious what you love most. What’s the thing that still gets you up in the morning, excited to go to work? What do you think about even when you’re not at the office? When your friends ask how the practice is going, what do you gush about?

Is it…

The Freedom?

You keep a limited patient panel so you have plenty of time to spend with each person. None of that shuffling in and out of appointments in record time nonsense. You set your own hours. Your time is yours, with which to do what you want. You’ve literally been given the gift of time.

The Way You Can Truly Help People?

You know it’s true. You didn’t go to school to fill out paperwork. Now that you’re utilizing DPC’s framework, you have to do less paperwork than you ever thought possible. That’s because when you clear out all the distractions, red tape, bureaucratic rules and third party interference, you’re left with the only thing that really matters: your patients. You can help them the way you know how, the way you always thought you would. You can spend extra time helping them with their ailments, following up on their progress, and coming up with proactive ways to keep them healthy. You can truly build relationships with them!

All the Savings You Get to Dole Out?

Part of helping your patients is saving them money – making their healthcare honestly affordable. You don’t have to swipe their card for a copay at each visit. You offer diagnostic and procedural benefits at no extra cost. Read more