Posted by: Atlas MD

April 20, 2022

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What’s New in Atlas.md? Import LabCorp Results.

Last year we released the Import Lab Results feature that made it possible to move test results from labs directly into Atlas.md as discrete data. The feature allowed you to view test results as tabular data instead of just a static PDF, but it only worked with lab results from Quest Diagnostics.

Today, we’re happy to announce that we’ve extended the capabilities of the feature to work with results from LabCorp. This means you can now effortlessly import lab results into Atlas.md from two of the country’s largest labs providers.

For a more detailed explanation of how the feature works, please check out our help article on the subject, and if you’re unsure about how to request labs, you can find out more here

Finally, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line at support@atlas.md.

Posted by: Atlas MD

March 16, 2022

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Help Employer Groups Put Employees First With Atlas Consult

It’s no secret that employers can save enormous amounts of money by shifting their employee healthcare away from the fee-for-service model and towards direct primary care.

Since traditional providers get paid for every patient they see, it’s in their financial interest to manage chronic conditions rather than curing them. Not to mention that when they do see patients, the appointments are rushed, with symptom management being the primary concern rather than diagnosing the root cause of a condition.

In fact, primary care doctors actually avoid addressing root causes and often refer patients to specialists to protect them from liability claims.

These specialists, it goes without saying, are prohibitively expensive, all of which funnels back into a company’s bottom line, driving up healthcare costs and driving down profits.

But what if there was a system that allows an employer to get the best of both worlds for their employees? Preventative, direct primary care with a physician, and affordable access to specialists when they require an outside consultation?

Save more with Consult

That was exactly our thought when we built Atlas Consult. We wanted to create a way for doctors to consult specialists whenever they need a second opinion about a diagnosis that requires expert advice – but without the exorbitant price tag.

Deployed at scale, the increased savings for employer groups, over and above the savings from switching to DPC, are huge. It means that employers can keep their workforces healthy at a fraction of the cost of traditional healthcare and that employees have access to specialist medicine and healthcare when they need it – prioritizing prevention, rather than intervention.

The best part about Consult is that it’s a continually expanding database that gets more powerful with each new specialist that enrolls. It’s constantly growing, meaning that access to specialist knowledge increases every day.

It’s beneficial for all parties involved – doctors who want a second opinion, specialists who get paid for remote consultations, patients who receive better care and better outcomes, and employers who save massively while putting the health of their employees first.

Posted by: Atlas MD

March 9, 2022

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What’s New in Atlas.md? Self-Scheduling.

Scheduling patient appointments is a time-consuming affair, often requiring nurses, secretaries, or other administrative staff to coordinate and manage. Our newest feature, self-scheduling, gives you the option to allow patients to schedule their own appointments ahead of time, drastically reducing the administrative burden required to schedule consultations.

Self-scheduling doesn’t have to replace your preferred booking process. You can still schedule appointments as you normally would while also providing patients with the possibility to book their own consultations. Atlas.md will automatically make sure that there are no schedule conflicts so that you can spend more time worrying about what matters most – providing quality care.

The rollout of self-scheduling doesn’t mean that you’re going to be suddenly swamped with appointments without your knowledge. Users have full control over whether they want to enable self-scheduling, how far in advance they would like bookings, the length of appointments, and how many daily time slots they want to open up. This isn’t limited to doctors either; any user, including administrative staff and nurses, can enable self-scheduling so that patients can book procedures such as labs, tests, or vaccinations directly with the relevant member of staff.

We’re constantly working on ways to give users more options to manage their clinics in a way that makes sense to them, and self-scheduling is another tool to do that while enabling even more flexibility and customization.

If you have any questions about self-scheduling, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line at support@atlas.md.

Posted by: Atlas MD

February 15, 2022

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It’s Been a Good Year for Direct Primary Care

As the second year of the pandemic comes to a close, it’s as good a time as any to take stock of 2021 and examine how the direct primary care industry has fared during these strange times. As it turns out, 2021 was a fantastic year for DPC on the whole. Growth was steady as new clinics opened across the country and more patients than ever were able to get access to better, affordable healthcare. Moving into 2022, it’s clear that direct care has never been better, stronger, more innovative, or more in demand.

Pushed to the limit

It’s no secret that doctors were already under immense strain before Covid-19, but since the start of the pandemic, the pressures on the public healthcare system and the medical professionals that staff it have been nothing short of staggering. Not only has this led to lower quality of care across the board, but physicians already suffering from burnout associated with overworking and excessive hospital administration were pushed to their limits as hospitals struggled to cope with an influx of patients and sick medical staff. This resulted in a phenomenon termed the “Great Resignation”, which saw vast numbers of healthcare professionals leaving in droves. In August 2021 alone, more than 534,000 people left the healthcare industry, causing huge disruptive turnover among primary care providers.

Pandemic-proof 

The same can’t be said for direct care. The telehealth capabilities inherent in most DPC practices meant that doctors were able to continue providing safe and effective treatment for their patients throughout the worst of the pandemic. They could keep their doors open while others had to shut, and at the same time operate under comparatively less stress due to working with significantly smaller patient panels and attending to less administrative work than traditional clinics.

Many doctors saw the benefits of this model and steered their ships in that direction, opening up direct care practices across the country even in the midst of mutating variants. While there is no official registry of DPC practices and the available data can sometimes be difficult to parse out, information gathered by DPC mapper and the DPC Alliance demonstrates a steady increase in the number of DPC clinics throughout the country. 

Paving the way forward 

2021 was also a great year for DPC legislation. In South Dakota and Montanna, legislation amending the definition of DPC as “not insurance” was passed, and bill SB374 was enacted allowing healthcare providers in Montana to dispense medications directly to their patients. Bills to pave the way for easier DPC access were also submitted in South Carolina, Texas, Massachusetts, and Maryland.

In demand

The reputation of and demand for DPC has also grown tremendously in the last year, as evidenced by the ever-increasing articles on the subject in well-known publications. A consumer survey by Hint Health also found that 83% of employees in the U.S. would be likely to sign up for direct primary care (DPC) membership if offered by their employer, and a study published in Population Medicine found that in general family medicine physicians were open to the idea of direct care, and felt that “DPC can offer positive outcomes through lower administrative burden for physicians, improved doctor-patient relationships, and better access.”

Conclusion

It’s clear that direct care is heading in the right direction, and industry growth on a physical, legislative, and reputational level experienced in 2021 reflects this. There’s no reason to believe that this momentum can’t be sustained into 2022 and that by moving one foot purposefully in front of the other, DPC can gain a firmer foothold and continue improving healthcare throughout the country.

Posted by: Atlas MD

February 8, 2022

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What’s New in Atlas.md? Shipping Labels for Companies.

Last year we made a lot of improvements to our shipping processes in order to make it easier to dispense refills and ship packages to patients. Today, we’re rolling out similar enhancements to shipping functionalities for companies.

Now, you can quickly and easily order shipping and print shipping labels to have packages sent to companies, while Atlas.md takes care of all the administrative heavy lifting. It’s just another way we’re broadening our scope of services while simultaneously lessening the amount of paperwork you have to pay attention to.

To learn more about shipping packages and medication, check out this support article. And if you have any questions regarding shipping labels, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line at support@atlas.md.

Posted by: Atlas MD

January 27, 2022

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Changes to Carrier Messaging Regulations

In recent months, cell carriers in the US have been taking steps to limit spam being sent on their networks, especially with regards to text messages involving drug sales. In a move to further prohibit these types of communications, almost all US carriers have introduced hefty fines for any non-compliant text messages being sent over their networks.

What does this mean for doctors who make their bread and butter communicating about medicine and drugs to patients, doctors, and other medical professionals? It’s tough to know right now. It’s also difficult to know how strictly these new rules will be enforced, but we will be keeping a close eye on the situation to see how it develops and do our best to keep you updated with the latest.

These types of broad policy changes are outside of our control, but we do understand how frustrating they can be. If there’s any way that we can help or if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at support@atlas.md.

Posted by: Atlas MD

November 23, 2021

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What’s New in Atlas.md? Drug Allergy Search Engine Improvements

Prescribing the correct medication can sometimes be a tricky business, especially if a patient suffers from one or more allergies. With our latest update to Atlas.md’s drug allergy search engine, we’ve made it easier than ever to quickly and efficiently find out what allergies your patients might have, as well as what allergenic ingredients might be in the medications you want to prescribe.

Now, with a simple search query, you can comb through your patient’s chart and pull up a list of any allergies they suffer from or see if the medicine you want to prescribe contains any allergens. If your account is integrated with DrFirst and Rcopia, this allergy data will also sync up to their system and can be used for drug allergy checks and alerts on their side.

Day-to-day dispensing just got even simpler. If you have any questions regarding the drug allergy search engine, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line at support@atlas.md.

Posted by: Atlas MD

November 10, 2021

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What’s New in Atlas.md? Multi-Day Events and Duplicating Forms.

While it’s been getting a bit colder, we’ve been huddled up inside hard at work on a few features that will improve your Atlas.md experience and make running your DPC clinic even more efficient – and we’re excited to announce a few of them today.

Multi-Day Events

Everyone needs a break from time to time, but sometimes it can be difficult to keep track of everyone’s days off. Multi-day events lets you schedule and track your and your team members’ extended time off on your calendar. This feature is great for booking vacations and any out-of-office days, and also lets you manage any schedule conflicts that might pop up. 

Duplicating Forms

We know that creating forms from scratch over and over can be a bit of a drag, so we developed a way of duplicating entire forms with one click. Now you can simply tweak and copy a master template as many times as you need, freeing up more time to spend with your patients or for other important clinic duties. 

We hope these features enhance your Atlas.md experience, and we’d love to hear any feedback or suggestions you might have. Just drop us a line at support@atlas.md.

Posted by: Atlas MD

October 13, 2021

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Concierge Medicine and Direct Primary Care – What’s the Difference?

Two of the most healthcare prominent models that have emerged over the last few years to challenge the traditional insurance model are concierge medicine and direct primary care. It’s not uncommon for these two terms to be used interchangeably when referring to any sort of membership medicine. But while both models share a number of similarities – namely providing patients with direct access to their doctor – there are also some unique differences.

At their core, both concierge and DPC are membership-based healthcare models that are paid by the patient or the patient’s employer. They both allow patients to spend more time with their doctors, put an emphasis on preventative care, and provide patients with unrestricted access to their physician.

But the models diverge in a number of prominent ways. Concierge medicine – or retainer medicine – is something of a luxury medical service because of its high cost and premium offerings. Patients who enroll with a concierge medicine provider often still have to pay regular health care insurance and are subject to co-pays and deductibles.

Direct primary care, on the other hand, solves the burdens of insurance and overbearing administrators completely. The model allows patients ample time with their doctors and a wide range of physician services for a much lower fee and on a month-to-month basis. Including significant savings on procedures, medicines, and labs that can save more than the cost of the monthly fees.

To really highlight all the differences, we put together this comparison table.

DPCConcierge Medicine
Independent, local business – usually a small, independent clinic with a few physicians.Large, corporate, national network of doctors.
Physicians contract directly with patients and no one else. Middlemen like insurance companies and hospitals are removed.Doctors may also contract with patients, insurance companies, and healthcare corporations, resulting in increased overheads and fees.
Flat, low-cost monthly fee that covers a wide range of physician services.Higher monthly fees billed on a yearly retainer. Insurance may still be billed and co-pays and deductibles may apply.
Focus is on accessible, versatile, and low-cost healthcare.Less emphasis on specific value-added features.
After-hours access by text and phone.After-hours access by text and phone.
Same day and next day service scheduling.Same day and next day service scheduling.
Prices with labs are negotiated to pass on the best possible prices to patients.Additional services are offered at rates negotiated with insurance companies.
No long-term membership contracts.Annual contracts required.
Monthly fees of on average between $50 and $110 for individuals. An average of $75 per employee per month for businesses.Annual fee of at least $2500.
Specialist consultations are included through services like Atlas Consult.Access to specialists is charged separately. 

Posted by: Atlas MD

August 30, 2021

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Approaching Employers About DPC

Transitioning to direct care or starting a new DPC practice can sometimes feel like a daunting task, especially when it comes to acquiring new patients. In a previous blog post, we looked at different ways to attract new patients, including sourcing from your panel if you already worked at a clinic and marketing your clinic digitally if you didn’t. We also briefly looked at pitching to employer groups as a way of filling up your appointment book, and it’s this approach that we’re going to examine in more detail below.

Approaching and partnering with employers in your community can be a mutually beneficial way of providing affordable healthcare for a business group while simultaneously acquiring hundreds of new patients. 

But where are these employers? How do you engage with them, and how do you finalize a contract? Below we take a look at what information you need to know and how you should approach employers in order to demonstrate the benefits and value that DPC provides.

Self-Funded or Fully-Insured

An important factor for determining which employer to approach is knowing whether their health insurance program is self-funded or fully insured.  

Employers that are fully insured contract directly with health insurance companies. They provide their employees with fixed plans that are administered and funded by the insurance company in question. This insulates the company from the expensive healthcare claims of their employees, but it also means they won’t see any savings should their employees not claim anything at all. Because of this, fully insured employers aren’t directly impacted by the monetary savings that direct care provides. Switching their employer healthcare plans to a DPC model would simply save money for the insurance company, which would be burdened with fewer claims.

Self-funded or self-insured companies, on the other hand, pay for most or all of the cost of their employee’s health care. Without third-party insurance, these companies evaluate and pay for the healthcare claims of their employees as they occur, relying on a third-party administrator (TPA) to perform the administrative functions. Each claim comes out of the company’s operating budget, directly affecting its bottom line. Because of this, self-funded companies stand to save a lot of money by switching to a DPC-oriented healthcare model, not only in medical savings but also in lowered employee absenteeism and improved productivity.

As a DPC practitioner, you’re going to have a much easier time engaging with self-funded employers than fully insured ones, for the simple reason that you have a lot more financial value to offer them.

Finding Self-Funded Employers

Now that you’re aware that engaging with self-funded employers is the best course of action for partnering with a company, the next question that arises is: how do I find and contact them?

One of the main predictors of whether or not a company self-funds its healthcare is size. In general, these companies will have more than 200 employees. According to a 2011 study sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, nearly 50% of businesses with more than 200 but less than 1000 employees were self-funded. Of course, this isn’t an absolute rule, but it does give you some general parameters to work with when deciding which companies to approach.

Approaching business leaders within the local community is also a proven method for finding and engaging with self-funded employers. Since DPC is by definition a local enterprise, it makes sense that direct care practices should want to collaborate with local businesses. 

Community business leaders can frequently be found at a city club or chapters of national service clubs like the Rotary Club or Chamber of Commerce. Referral groups like BNI (Business Network International) are also worth pursuing. This type of professional networking is invaluable as it allows you to shake the hands of people running businesses in your community and really demonstrate the value of DPC.

Demonstrating the Value That DPC Provides

As a DPC practitioner, you’re well-aware of the value direct care can bring to the table both in monetary savings and improved patient healthcare. Most employers, however, are in the dark, so it’s up to you to show them what they stand to gain by providing direct primary care to their employees. 

Before pitching a DPC healthcare plan to an employer, it’s important to understand their healthcare needs so that you can adjust your value proposition accordingly. These healthcare needs are generally oriented around three elements:

  • Lowering health care costs
  • Increasing the health of their workforce
  • Providing additional benefits to employees

The first is a no-brainer. With no copay, low monthly fees, and the ability to see patients as frequently as needed at no additional cost, it’s easy to lay bare how DPC can save an employer significant amounts of money. You can also present the following facts to strengthen your case. Companies will:

  • Save significantly on lab testing, imaging, outpatient surgeries, and other non-emergency treatments
  • See a reduction in unnecessary lab testing, imaging, and procedures
  • Provide their employees with affordable specialist consultations
  • Save on average $2,551 savings per employee per year, as found in the 2012 AJMC study on preventative care and reduced hospitalization

In terms of increasing the health of an employer’s workforce, put an emphasis on preventative care and improved health outcomes that ultimately result in fewer sick workers and missed workdays, and a healthy, productive workforce.

And lastly, lay out what employees stand to gain:

  • Greater doctor and clinic accessibility
  • Patients have more time with the doctor
  • Same-day appointments
  • Remote consultations

Understanding marketing and how to reach out to potential patients is part of the job of running a DPC clinic. Luckily, direct care almost sells itself with the value and savings that it provides. All you have to do is get in front of the right employers, lay out the facts and case studies, and show them how much they have to gain.