Posted by: AtlasMD

January 24, 2017

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What’s Holding You Back from Opening Your DPC Practice? (After You Read this, the Answer Will be ‘Nothing.’) Part 2.

What's Holding You Back from Starting Your DPC Practice?

“Hmm, Direct Care sounds amazing. I’d love to do that.”

Ever said or even thought those words? Do you fall into any of the categories we talked about here? So why haven’t you started your practice yet? Maybe this Direct Care thing is new to you. Maybe you’ve heard about it but don’t know where to start. Or maybe you’re just scared to take the leap. In part two of this two-part series, we’re flattening the road ahead so there’s nothing but a clear path from you to the front doors of your Direct Care practice.

It all boils down to two things:

Before we get into all the details, there are two things you should keep in mind at all times.

First, you have to do the work. You have to get your hands dirty, do the research, make the phone calls, ask the questions and launch the website. You have to put in the extra man hours to get this thing up and running – just like any other small business. The great part about Direct Care is that you don’t have to worry whether it’s sustainable or not. The model is built on a foundation that provides a quality service people are more than happy to pay for because it saves them time, money, and adds value to their lives. Once you have your brick and mortar foundation laid, you get to do what you love and many times the rest will fall into place.

Second, it’s okay that you’re not an expert in running a business. You went to medical school, after all. But because you went to med school, you’re going to need to lean on someone else for support while getting your practice off the ground. That’s right, you don’t have to do this alone. In fact, we offer practice management consulting services absolutely free of charge. Whether you’re in the beginning stages of opening your doors or just need a little help along the way, you can call us. We’ve helped hundreds of practices open already and have several more in progress; their success is like our drug.

Okay. Have your list ready? You know, the one with all the reasons you can’t start your practice? Good. Let’s go.

Excuse #1: I have no idea where to start.

You’re considering starting something completely new – of course it’s daunting. But it’s also really exciting! The first thing you should do is finish reading this article, and then hop over to the Direct Care Curriculum, where you can learn more about every single aspect of starting your practice. There will be some biggies to check off the list over time (like finding a location and getting set up with the right equipment), and some smaller items you can work through more quickly (like naming your practice and creating a brand for it). Everyone’s first step is going to look a little different depending on where you’re starting so let’s talk about your current situation so we can map out a path forward.

  • Are you currently employed? Are you under contract with that employer? Is there a non-compete policy? You’ll want to find out how to get out of those contracts and around the non-compete if it applies.
  • Are you starting straight out of residency and starting with a fresh slate? If this is you, you have a little more flexibility and can hit the ground running a little faster. For you, give your practice a name, establish a legal business and call your realtor!

Read more

Posted by: AtlasMD

January 23, 2017

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What’s Holding You Back from Opening Your DPC Practice? (After You Read This, the Answer Will be ‘Nothing.’)

If you fall into any of the following categories, you absolutely MUST keep reading because no matter what is preventing you from taking the next step with Direct Care, there’s a solution. We’re in the mood to break down some walls. At the end of this two-part series, you will be left with nothing but a clear path to DPC. To freedom of schedule. To career satisfaction. To happy patients. And possibly to more money than you make right now. We could go on and on… Anyway, lets’ see if you fit the bill. If one of these describes you even a little bit, perk up your ears and let the rest sink in.

Retirement Can’t Come Soon Enough. You’ve Had it Up to Here.

The days of sprinting from exam room to exam are behind you. At least you wish they were. The list of rules you have to follow are getting longer by the day, and the amount of energy you spend trying to make sense of them all is getting ridiculous. You close your eyes and dream of the golf course. Or maybe a book and your La-Z-Boy. You long for the days ahead of enjoying your life again. Maybe you’ll volunteer at a local clinic just because you want to, that’d be nice. After all, helping others is part of who you are and you know retirement won’t make that go away. But this, all this nonsense about how many patients to see in a day or how to code a diagnosis so the insurance companies don’t throw a fit or the pressure to accept or not accept Medicare… this is chaos. You’ve had enough and you want out.

You’re a Seasoned Physician Facing Retirement, but You Love Your Job.

You’ve been in the field for a long time. Traditional healthcare has served you fairly well – you’ve learned to live with the paperwork and red tape. Despite the adversity you’ve faced for years, your patients love you and you love them right back. You’ve also mastered the 7 minute appointment; you are efficient and effective. Retirement has always loomed in the distance. It’s inching closer now, but hanging up your coat just doesn’t feel right. Healthcare is transforming into something you don’t even recognize, though, so you know something has to change. Secretly, you’ve always wondered what it would be like to do things your way, on your watch, at a slower pace.

You’re Mid-Career and Jaded by the System.

Residency feels like a lifetime ago and now that you’re in full swing with your career you realize it’s not at all what you thought. You spend the hours between sun up and sun down rushing from patient to patient (that sense of inadequacy is getting really heavy…), and then you’re resolved to tackling a mountain of paperwork in the hours after. You keep telling yourself this will get better once the wrinkles of the ACA get ironed out, or once the MCRA, HIPAA or ICD issues have been resolved, or maybe even once the new administration gets settled in. It feels like you’re in a holding pattern. Rush frantically through the day, and then wait for the dust of traditional healthcare to settle. More pressing, you’re still waiting to get into the groove of life where you can actually enjoy your work and your family. You’re starting to lose hope that it will ever really happen. Read more

Posted by: AtlasMD

January 16, 2017

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Hey DPC Docs! You’re Better at Sales Than You Think.

You went to med school. You speak medicine. You speak healing, healthcare and patient happiness. So if the idea of sales and selling makes you want to go jump off a cliff… yeah, we get it.

If you’re thinking about transitioning to Direct Care, or even starting fresh with Direct Care, there are two things you need to do. The first thing is call us, because we offer free practice management consulting services. Yep, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about making the transition, opening the doors of your practice, and managing it once you have patients coming through those doors. Seriously, call us. It’s free. As in, doesn’t cost you anything.

Now that we’ve shamelessly plugged our FREE consulting services, what about that other thing you need to do? You gotta wrap your head around the fact that you have business management in your future. And yes, that includes sales. If you’re still standing on the edge of the cliff, we’d like to invite you to chill out and take a step back. Sales in Direct Care looks different than it does in other industries, so throw out that used-car salesman image you have in your head. Get this: you don’t have to break down doors, beg people to become patients, or even convince anyone of anything. Direct Care has already done the heavy lifting by providing a platform to give people something they value. Your role in the whole thing is to just spread the word about it. Which you’re already doing, because it’s something you care about, so you’re naturally going to talk about it. See? That’s not so bad. Care to take another step back from the ledge now? There we go.

You Already Have the Tools You Need to Sell.

Have you ever heard the phrase “a truly great product sells itself?” That applies here, too. All you’re doing is educating people about the features and, more importantly, the benefits of Direct Care. You’re talking about your job. You’re exposing them to a better way – one that will benefit them from a bunch of different angles. Read more

Posted by: AtlasMD

January 11, 2017

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Feature Review: Updating Your Account Password.

If you’re using the Atlas.md EMR, you already know you’ll get email reminders to update your password every now and then. You can click the link right in that email to hop straight over. Should you need to update your password any other time, for any other reason, there are a couple ways to go about it. This video walks you through how to update your password in case you need a quick refresher. Or in case you’re just in the mood to watch a cool video.

You’ll find more of these video tutorials over here in the support section.

Posted by: AtlasMD

January 9, 2017

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DPC is the Answer to Both Sides of the Retail Healthcare Argument.

retailhealthcare01

You know those retail healthcare clinics, the ones tucked away in the corners of grocery stores? Research suggests that people are popping in there and spending money on treatments they don’t even need. Treatment for ailments that would probably resolve themselves. Well, okay, consider this. A patient has a rash. They bust out the browser: Google alludes to death or worse if they don’t get treated right away. So they run down the street, seek quick treatment from someone they don’t know, and consider it done. Easy? Sure. Quality care? If you’re lucky. Cost effective? Not quite.

Dr. Scott Ashwood headed up the study that was published in the medical journal Health Affairs. When asked if these retail clinics are making care too convenient, he spoke in defense of the study.

“So getting more people treated for those conditions is probably good for the patients. They feel better and they may get back to work sooner. But from a broader perspective it may not be something we want to spend more money on as a society or [as a] a health plan. We would rather focus on higher value preventive care services.”

But Dr. Andrew Sussman, president of the MinuteClinic unit at CVS Health Corp., has a different take on the situation.

“The authors describe this as new care or new costs, which I think is a step backward. It’s not excessive costs to take care of people who don’t have a doctor. In fact, we are reaching an underserved population with retail clinics.”

DPC is the Answer.

Can’t decide if you’re Team Ashwood or Team Sussman? Don’t worry, you don’t have to choose because there’s a third option in this retail healthcare situation. Direct Care. DPC provides quality care to patients who cannot otherwise afford health insurance. A low monthly subscription fee takes the place of insurance and offers 24/7 access to a doctor, wholesale prices on prescription medications, free yearly exams and so much more. DPC’s business model is built around transparency and patient-centric values. So, you get quality care for the underserved. And those patients can still be seen nearly immediately, and consulted with in unconventional, incredibly convenient ways like text message, email, phone call, and even video calls.

Direct Care makes healthcare affordable and accessible for nearly everyone. Plus, patients get so much more than a quick fix to whatever ails them. They get to build a relationship with a physician who truly cares about their health from a proactive standpoint. Who doesn’t want that?

Posted by: AtlasMD

January 6, 2017

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The DPC Myth-Buster, Courtesy of the AAFP!

When the AAFP takes it upon itself to “dispel myths” about DPC, you do a little happy dance. You also pump your fist in the air and yell, “FINALLY!”

Look, we get it, DPC carries with it a bit of an educational learning curve. It used to be that healthcare without insurance wasn’t a natural concept for many people – both patients and physicians alike. But we knew it was the better way and we’ve watched the DPC movement explode. Like any truly good product, DPC continues to sell itself. The AAFP proves it when they say things like this:

“ [DPC]…creates transactional efficiencies and reduces administrative burdens for primary care physicians.”

and

“…DPC is actually an ideal strategy to provide our nation a robust family medicine physician workforce in the long run.”

and

The normal workforce economics that naturally occur in the unregulated DPC environment mean that physicians gravitate to a panel size of 900 simply because that’s what is sustainable for healthy physician-patient relationships.”

DPC isn’t in bed with the AAFP, obviously. But we know the medical community takes what they say very, very seriously. And so the kind, bold and factual argument displayed here makes us blush with pride.

Honestly, there is so much logical goodness in this article that you might as well just read the whole thing for yourself. Well, go on then.

Posted by: AtlasMD

December 9, 2016

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Treating Millennials with Direct Primary Care

DPC is all about connecting with patients, which ironically is prevented by the standard insurance model. All those rules and regulations are so tough to keep up with, and heaven forbid you break one of ’em. The fear itself can effectively prevent that connection which leads to a healthy doctor-patient relationship. Can’t text. Can’t Skype. Can’t Tweet. And when you feel like you’re basing a diagnosis on the ICD code instead of the other way around? Don’t even get us started. But we digress… 

Thank goodness there’s a better way. Direct Care literally shoves all that craziness to the side and lets us focus on the patient. Listening to them. Talking to them. Connecting with them. However they want. We would do well to remember that Direct Care was built on the premise of transparent communication. But we would do even better to remember that not everyone communicates the same way. Your “older” generation thrives on phone calls and emails. But your millennials? They’re different. They text and tweet. Constantly. It’s concise. And fast. And that’s all they need. #micdrop

The AAFP wrote an article addressing some of this not too long ago. They had all kinds of great ideas on how to attract and engage this generation. The whole thing is over here, but let’s take a quick peek at the good stuff:  Read more

Posted by: AtlasMD

December 5, 2016

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Feature Review: Making Your Calendar Work for You

This time of year is crazy, don’t you agree? The holidays bring with it random, inconsistent office hours, winter vacations to schedule around, and patients who need to be seen at all times of the day… and night!

There’s no better time than now to make sure you’re getting the most out of your calendar. Learn all the tips and tricks that will keep you and your clinic running smoothly – no matter how many locations you have! This video shows you how to create new appointments, how to edit the ones that are already there, and how to set up your calendar with different views to make sure you’re getting the full picture.

Posted by: AtlasMD

November 4, 2016

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These Prices are INSANE. #IAmDirectCare

There’s all kinds of talk about how much money Direct Care can save patients. You know, DPC practices who offer wholesale prices on meds, and pile on coupons on top of that. Oh, and that the cost of a monthly subscription is way less expensive than the cost of an insurance policy they may not even need. All true. All good. But have you ever seen the numbers? Like, really really looked?

Dr. Ciampi did the work using lab prices as a baseline. Called around, got some information, and laid it out. And may we just say. Whoa.

lab-prices-image02

Why Isn’t This a Bigger Deal?!

It’s just crazy when you look at the markup across the board. So why don’t numbers like this raise more eyebrows? We don’t know exactly, but we imagine it’s just what consumers have come to expect to pay. The problem feels so much bigger than they can handle, and maybe they feel like the fight isn’t theirs. Just think of all the third parties, and political motivations behind markups (do we need to remind you about the whole EpiPen thing?) But Direct Care is leading this fight in our own way. Because we look out for our patients at all costs – and that means drastically reducing their costs while providing excellent care. We don’t want to take down big pharma, stand up to big government, or face big anything else. What Direct Care does want, though, is to be the alternative that patients and doctors are searching for. That better way. That breath of fresh air. And with prices like this, who can object that we’re headed in the right direction?

Posted by: AtlasMD

October 19, 2016

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Quality of Care vs Third Parties.

Quality of Care Third parties are supposed to be helpful. But when they’re not, the result can be incredibly detrimental.

This study from The Physician’s Foundation threw out a number, associated that number with docs who felt third party elements actually took away from their ability to provide quality patient care, and that number is quite staggering.

About two-thirds (72%) said third-party intrusions detract from the quality of care.

Without generalizing too much, it’s saying that pretty much everyone agrees with the whole “direct is better” concept. Think of it this way. On some level, we all want to pour a foundation for the next generation to build upon. To leave footprints in which others may follow, right? In the epic battle between quality of care and third parties, third parties are winning. So sad. But it gets worse. This study also says nearly half of physicians polled wouldn’t even recommend this profession to their own kids. Dang.

“Enough!” Says Direct Care.

Enough with the depressing stats. Enough shattered expectations. Enough putting up with a system that breaks doctors. The story Direct Care tells is different. It’s one of hope. Passion. Freedom. Direct Care puts its foot down, and cuts out the middle man. You know, outside stuff that gets in the way of you doing your job. Direct Care essentially acts as a bulldozer for all those things. What traditional healthcare says is vital and can’t be worked around, Direct Care says isn’t more important than patient care. Forget about all the stuff that trips you up and leaves you wishing you had another 15 minutes to spend in the exam room. Or cursing at a mountain of paperwork every evening. Wait, wait. Shhh. Listen.

Can you hear them? That 72% who just heard that they don’t have to deal with third party anything if they don’t want to? They’re popping corks and throwing up confetti. They’re celebrating. Oh, we know how they feel. It’s amazing to know there’s a better way. To know that the alternative to your broken dreams are new dreams you never even imagined before. Not only helping patients on your time and their time at the same time (wrap your head around that one…) but not having to jump through hoops to do it.

Practice Direct Care. It’s the solution to third party madness, and it just might be the ticket to preserving a healthcare industry the next generation actually wants to be a part of.