The Evolution Of Primary Care

For decades, primary care physicians ran their offices in a “physician-centric” manner. PCPs ran their offices during convenient hours, rarely reached out to patients when they weren’t in the office and spent virtually no energy building their brand or their patient experience.

But when retail clinics began popping up in pharmacy chains and megastores like Walmart, PCPs saw them as a major threat to the business.

As part of the Direct Care movement we’re dramatically changing the landscape of primary care. Practices like ours embrace new models that make physicians more accessible, more affordable, and actually save them money. We don’t have to expend energy trying to get reimbursed and instead spend that time with patients. We embrace new technologies, like mobile phones and tablets. We support fellow practices who are challenging the status quo.

For many physicians, in fact, it’s not a matter of whether they adopt new practice models—such as direct primary care or concierge care—or not. It’s more that PCPs will either change their business model or leave the practice of medicine. We feel pretty confident that 80% of primary care physicians will be a direct care model within 3 to 5 years.

And then there’s millenials.

Why is it so important for primary care practices to consider new ways of doing business? Well, there’s the obvious factors such as having to constantly wrangle with insurance companies and the need to see dozens of patients a day. That needs to be eliminated.

But there’s more than that.

The incoming generation are digital natives. They expect us to meet their needs and do it in a way that’s familiar to them.

PCPs are now serving the new wave of consumers dubbed millennials. Millennials, the incoming wave of American teens and twenty-somethings, have much different expectations of the medical system than their parents.

At Atlas MD, we’re prepared for that. We Tweet patients for casual followups. We Skype with people who are out of town. We rearrange schedules via emails like millennials do on a daily basis.

For one thing, millennials have grown up in an era where consumer technology use — notably mobile — has grown at an astonishing pace, and they expect the convenience these devices bring.

So where is all of this heading? We’re looking at the birth of the 24-hour, always on, social media-savvy, web-smart, patient-centric practice that makes it convenient to do business with them.

And that’s what we do here at Atlas MD.

Our three doctors see about 1,500 patients. Patients pay a flat rate each month ranging from $10 per month to $100 per month, and in return get unlimited visits, plus doctor communication by phone, text and e-mail, including direct access via the doctor’s cell phone number. We work with a health insurance specialist who finds ways to make a patient’s participation in insurance cheaper by using AtlasMD’s benefits.

This is our transformation — we call it cutting the red tape. Insurance companies are vital. There are events that we can’t ever predict and people deserve peace of mind. But insurance and bureaucracy need to be put in their place.

Future generations don’t deserve a clogged system that costs them so much money and is so burdensome they skip out on getting actual care, or they get rushed care, or they go bankrupt getting cared for.