We Should Aim for “Crazy and Oldschool”

If being crazy means we know our patients backwards and forwards, show up at the hospital when they’re admitted, and help fill in the blanks of their medical history when our patient is unable, then sign us up.

If being old school means our doctor-patient relationships are rock solid, cradled in trust, and wrapped in endless care, then we’re on board.

Like the experience in this story told by Dr. Dhand over at KevinMD, we’re totally up for letting DPC take us back to basics.

A couple of weeks ago I was on-call and had to go down to the emergency room to see a patient. Before I entered the room, I was told that the patient was accompanied by her long-time physician who was a bit “crazy and old school.”

“Hmm … that’s strange … why would her physician be in the room with her?” I thought to myself. When I went in to introduce myself, sure enough sat next to her was an elderly physician probably in his late 70s or early 80s. After he greeted me with a warm and friendly handshake, he told me that he had practiced medicine in the local area for the last several decades. I still continued to wonder exactly what he was doing there, and this thought persisted for the next few minutes.

However, as I got further into the interview, I quickly realized just why he was sitting by his patient’s side. This doctor had cared for the patient for at least the last 30 years, was in the process of winding down his practice, but felt compelled to come and visit his patient (with no financial incentive to do so) as soon as he heard she was being admitted to the hospital. The patient — elderly herself and hard of hearing — wasn’t able to give me a complete history. But that was OK, because her doctor knew her inside out. Every little detail.

Read the full story over here and after you do, a little personal reflection of your own might be just what the doctor ordered.

Posted by: AtlasMD

April 10, 2015

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Selling Your Vision

Are you starting your own Direct Care practice? Maybe just thinking about it? Either way, if you’re interested in Direct Care you have a vision in mind, right? The big picture, the overarching purpose, the ultimate goal.

Then there’s the part where you lose sight of that goal and get lost in the details. That’s okay, too… to a point.

Kevin Rose, founder of Digg, has some invaluable advice on aligning the details with your vision – and what can happen when your entire team is on board.

A team aligned behind a vision will move mountains. Sell them on your roadmap and don’t compromise — care about the details, the fit and finish. Only work with those that have (as Larry Page puts it) “a healthy disregard for the impossible,” and push everyone on your team until it’s uncomfortable.

So go. Start your Direct Care practice and do your part to change the face of healthcare. Just don’t forget to sell your vision along the way. 

Posted by: AtlasMD

February 25, 2015

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Direct Care Sells Itself.

In the most recent Atlas MD podcast Drs. Josh and Doug touch on something every DPC physician should embrace.

Direct Care sells itself.

Having said that, those new to the DPC business model have a unique opportunity to propel the “self-selling” part forward. In a nutshell, make pristine examples out of your first few patients. Be impeccable, intuitive, proactive, and all the other positive adjectives that might describe DPC docs. No excuses. Make it impossible for your patients to overlook the value in what you have to offer. Show them what their care is made of so they’re bursting to tell everyone they know. Here’s why letting them in is so crucial:

When you show how a product is made, you’re inviting your customers behind-the-scenes and enchanting the narrative they hold of you. There is a fundamental difference between simply using a product versus using a product where you also know its history and how it was conceived—the latter elicits an emotional connection.

DPC is already emotionally charged, so it’s only fitting that transparency is what will keep patients coming back. If Direct Care physicians give their patients the right ammo, patients might just change the face of healthcare all on their own.

Read more on the topic of how a product sells itself and why. >

An Open Invitation to Be Brilliant.

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To all the docs in a traditional practice who feel trapped. To all the physicians who wrap up each day feeling exhausted, buried behind mountains of paperwork. To all those former med students who thought there would be more patient in patient care.

It’s your turn. 

Your turn to be who you always wanted to be. Provide the kind of patient care you always imagined. Run the practice you always dreamed of. Your turn to be brilliant.

Direct Care is waiting for you, and making the transition isn’t all that difficult. Truth be told, neither is starting your own practice. There are lots of people who want direct care. And lots of people who support it, too.

So before you succumb to the desire to sell tupperware, there are a few things you should know. The way it’s been doesn’t have to be the way it is. Patients want personalized medicine as much as you want to provide it. And finally, change is not only possible, but happening around the country this very minute.

Go Ahead, Say It Out Loud. “I Am Direct Care!”

#IAMDIRECTCARE1Whether you want direct care, or embody it, there’s a place on the web for you.

You probably remember the launch of IWantDirectCare.com, which was the beginning of a movement to put patients who wanted Direct Care in touch with docs who provided it. This site’s doing a lot of great things, including proving the demand for better quality healthcare around the country. It’s even grown to include insurance agents in its networking nature.

Now it’s time for the movement’s progression to make its debut on the web, which is why we’re so excited for the launch of IAmDirectCare.com. With this largely socially-centered platform, supporters can show their support from a more individualized perspective.

IAmDirectCare.com captures the stories people share on social media about their wonderful experiences with Direct Care. It also shows supporters of the Direct Care movement and explains the DPC concept in simple, easy-to-grasp terms. Read more

KevinMD: Setting the Record Straight

Dr. Neuhofel, family physician and owner of NeuCare Family Medicine is ready to set the record straight. He took the time to tackle a few of the most widely spread rumors, including affordability and Dr. shortage.

Myth #1: DPC is Too Expensive

  • Many DPC clinics were founded to help those who were struggling to afford care through traditional healthcare.
  • “Concierge” doesn’t mean “high priced.” Rather, most DPC clinics charge on the lower end of the retainer spectrum, landing somewhere in the $30-50/month range.
  • Savings are passed back to the patient in more ways than one: “discounts on labs, diagnostic testing, medications, procedures and more.”

“Just last week, I was able to provide nine doses of sumatriptan to a new patient for $8.12. She had previously been paying more than $100 per month through her insurance for the same amount of the drug.”

Read more

Posted by: AtlasMD

November 25, 2014

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Disillusioned Physicians Learn about DPC.

It doesn’t take long for the true colors of healthcare’s current condition to shine through.

“I’ve only been in practice for a year and I’m already disillusioned,” said Levis. “I think we spend more of our time doing paperwork than we spend taking care of people. I’m here to explore this concept of direct primary care and learn about its viability.” – Erika Levis, M.D., of Pleasant Hill, Iowa

Levis, along with nearly 40 other family physicians from around the country recently gathered for a workshop to learn everything they could about Direct Primary Care. Many of them had questions about how they could make the model work for them. They quickly learned they had options – that the model is flexible and with some hard work and research, they could make their practice exactly what they’d always dreamed of. Angela Kerschner, MD is already taking advantage of this versatility. Read more

The Right People are Asking the Right Questions.

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It’s a great time in healthcare.

Not only because more and more Direct Primary Care practices are popping up all over the country. Not only because patients are spreading the word about how DPC is working for them. And not only because now more than ever, doctors actually want to practice medicine.

There’s another reason why it’s such a great time to be in healthcare amid swirling chaos in the form of health insurance, doctor burnout and misinformation.

Medical students are asking for DPC training. 

And what’s better, the DPC community is willing to teach it.  Read more

Posted by: AtlasMD

November 5, 2014

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Kevin.MD: Healthcare Has Failed at Customer Service

But according to Dr. Rusnak, a family medicine resident, that’s all about to change thanks to Direct Care and other business models like it.

“There are a few physicians ahead of the curve right now. They get it and fully understand that the industry is changing. You may call it the consumerization of health care. I call it paying attention to the entirety of a doctor’s appointment.”

One Medical Group is a Primary Care practice that offers patients who are willing to pay an additional $150 per month many of the same features you’ll find in the ever-growing Direct Care model. A relaxing atmosphere, appointments that last as long as the patient needs them to, and no wait times. Oh, and smiling staff members.  Read more

THE HILL: The Pinch of the Primary Care Bottleneck

“According to a 2013 study by the Commonwealth Fund, 26 percent of 2,000 Americans surveyed said they waited six days or more for a doctor’s appointment when they were sick or needed care.”

If that snippet isn’t enough to convince you DPC is the way to go (you know, the whole same day scheduling, home visit thing), then maybe nothing will.

But in a world where a traditional primary care physician has 2,000 patient charts on her desk and must spend 17.4 hours per day to provide them with adequate care, the truth is that the fluidity of DPC is better for everyone. In a nutshell, physicians are doing what they love (caring for patients and as a result loving their jobs) and patients are getting what they deserve (quality healthcare in an available, comfortable format).

Plus, did you know DPC integrates with the ACA

“…the ACA allows DPC practices to offer coverage in the health insurance exchanges when combined with a wraparound catastrophic insurance policy provided by a qualified health plan (QHP). The QHP is used for hospitalization, specialty care and other more costly services. To date, there are no DPC practices operating in the federally facilitated exchanges, but the first DPC offering paired with a QHP will be available in the Washington state exchange in January 2015.”

Bottleneck, busted.