Posted by: AtlasMD

July 17, 2017

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What Feels Like the End is Often the Beginning.

Remember the moment you realized you wanted to go to med school? It was definitive: helping people is what you wanted to do with your life. You were probably scared, a little nervous, but mostly excited out of your mind. You had a mountain to climb; you were under no false pretenses that it would be easy. But the steps were laid out for you. Take this class, learn this method, become excellent. So you did. You experienced endless sleepless nights of studying and the death of your social life. Even so, you put one foot in front of the other on this path so many before you had walked. You knew where it would lead; you couldn’t get there fast enough. And so when it came time to walk across the stage, your exhausted bones knew it was the end of an era. No more tests, no more classrooms.

You graduated! You did it! You reached the end of the road . . .  you’re laughing now, right? (Yeah, it was hard to even write that.) Everybody knows that not only does the road NOT end at graduation, but that’s when it gets steep. Really, really steep. Your internship, residency and fellowship were no joke; you often wondered if there were somehow more than 24 hours in your day because you seemed to fill up every single one of them and then some. You had to make some really hard decisions: would you specialize? In what? Who did you want to learn from in the real world? Where did you want to live? Where did your biggest opportunities lie? How could you care for people the best way you knew how?

You worked harder than you ever thought you could, poured over all your options. Again, you wisely followed the footprints of others who had run this marathon before. As the light at the end of the tunnel drew nearer, you watched as your career began to take shape.You fought for the letters that now followed your name and you believed in every word of the oath you took. And suddenly, although there was still so much to learn, you’d come to the end yet again. You were no longer under anyone’s wing. It was just you. And your patients.

Or so you thought. Read more

Posted by: AtlasMD

June 29, 2017

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The Easy Answer to a Question You’re Asked All the Time: “Is there a DPC Practice Near Me?”

You’ll never get tired of answering that question, but now there’s an easier way to do it.

When someone asks you if there’s a DPC practice near them, just send them to atlas.md/map.

You’ll get popped right over to DPCFrontier.com/mapper where they feature a really great map of the entire country. (We just shortened the URL to atlas.md/map so it’s easier to say!) Zoom in, zoom out, click the dots for more information, and even see what kind of practice it is: pure DPC, on-site DPC, or hybrid DPC.

All that info – just tell ‘em to visit atlas.md/map. Again, it forwards right to DPCFrontier.com/mapper, but atlas.md/map is easier to say.

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

September 26, 2016

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Validic + Omron Wellness = Atlas Awesomeness.

Don’t you love it with things improve unexpectedly?

It’s a nice little surprise that makes your day better. One that causes you to smile to yourself and think, “Well, isn’t that neat.”validic

It’s kind of like finding out your EMR integrates with your favorite blood pressure cuff so you can be easily and effortlessly proactive about your patients’ health. Wait a second. It is that. It’s exactly that.

Now when you use Validic to track your patients’ health and wellness, you can use your Omron device to do so. That means the information you gather there automatically translates to the patient’s chart inside Atlas. Click here to learn more about integrating with Validic straight from Atlas.

Posted by: AtlasMD

September 21, 2016

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Insurance Agrees: Direct Care Is Catching On

insurancenewsnet01In an article from InsuranceNewsNet.com, Direct Care was the topic of discussion. DPC was shed in a positive light – and that’s the way it should be. Because that’s the way it is in real life. Yes, DPC and insurance are actually friends.

To those who don’t understand the business model, it might seem that Direct Care and insurance are at odds with each other. But that’s not actually the case. DPC finds its way around things that trip up the traditional healthcare system, and in a situation where the rules and regulations prevent the rules from being followed properly in the first place, a straight line from doctor to patient is a breath of fresh air. DPC never said insurance isn’t a good thing. In fact, most Direct Care providers actually recommend patients maintain a high deductible plan for emergency situations. It’s believed that filing fewer insurance claims will actually lead to more quality insurance claims… which in turn will lead to more claims that are actually paid by patients.

When patients pay for what they actually need rather than what they might need, everyone wins.

Know who else is winning? DPC providers like Tanya Spoon. She opened the doors to her Direct Care practice after a career in traditional healthcare and hasn’t looked back.

“My life/work balance is amazingly better,” she said. “I get to go home ever day for lunch.”

The benefits are familiar to those of us already immersed in the good life of Direct Care – but it’s fantastic to see them on InsuranceNewsNet.com.

“For providers, its an opportunity to spend more time practicing medicine. Spoon cared for about 4,000 people at the conventional primary care practice in Silverdale, carving out a few minutes for each visit. At Manette Clinic, she guarantees patients at least 30 minutes each time they see her, and she makes frequent house calls and visits to assisted living facilities.”

So now, it’s a quality win-win-win. Insurance companies win because they’re getting higher quality claims. Providers win because they get a work/life balance that is actually balanced. And patients win because they get a provider who has the time and energy to provide incredible care.

It’s Not Doctor Shortage, it’s an Efficiency Issue.

According to Forbes, “A recently published study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that for every hour physicians were seeing patients, they were spending nearly two additional hours on paperwork.”

Whoa.

Well, we knew traditional docs spent a lot of time on paperwork… but this much?! It gives whole new meaning to one of our favorite catchphrases in support of the Atlas.md EMR: You didn’t go to medical school to fill out paperwork! Let’s break some numbers down, though, because when you look under the surface you’ll find the answer to an even bigger problem.

This Time article from a few years ago indicates that 22% of a docs time is spent on charting, EMR, or insurance matters. That’s the equivalent of 165K full time physicians. One hundred sixty five thousand docs could be seeing patients if they weren’t pushing papers instead. It gets worse. New numbers blow that out of the water. Based on the new Forbes study, we’d have more than 500K full time physicians back and taking care of patients.

Here it is, plain and simple. We don’t have a doctor shortage issue. We have an efficiency issue.

You might be thinking, “man, paperwork sure is a necessary evil.” To which Direct Care would like to challenge you: what if it wasn’t necessary? Don’t be silly; we’re not advocating not charting. But what if you could get that time back by being more efficient with the paperwork you really do have to do? It’s what Direct Care providers across the country already know. They skip the insurance paperwork; patients pay them directly. If they use Atlas.md, they actually like their EMR because it’s intuitive to their workflow and leaves out all the flashing lights and other distractions. Taking it one step further, their phone, email, text and even video call correspondence is automatically logged right in the patient’s chart without them ever having to lift a pen. Nice.

So, when we work more efficiently, we eliminate the time-consuming wasteland of paperwork that used to eat up half our day (literally!) and we find ourselves exactly where we not only need to be, but want to be. With patients.

If you’re wondering where all the doctors have gone, check underneath that giant pile of papers. Then go dig them out, tell them about Direct Care and make their lives and the lives of their patients infinitely better.

Posted by: AtlasMD

August 29, 2016

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How Direct Care Challenges the System: EpiPen Alternatives

According to Business Insider, the EpiPen pricing-surge scandal brings out the worst parts of our government and healthcare system.

Challenge accepted.

People everywhere are stressed out about this $600 EpiPen fiasco, but Direct Care isn’t getting caught up in the drama. Instead, DPC docs will happily offer their patients a cost-effective alternative like this prefilled syringe case – for 18 bucks. Turns out that when you look beyond the deep pockets and greedy politics of it all, there actually is another way.

So, rather than moan and groan about the inefficiencies of traditional healthcare, why not do something about it? This is another chance for the Direct Care movement to prove what it can do without all that red tape. We can continue to go above and beyond to make healthcare effective and affordable. Because we love our jobs. And our patients.

Even though government may be trying to help by passing laws that encourage schools to stock epinephrine in order to receive certain grants, things are never that simple when there are so many moving parts. Hence, the resulting increase in demand is one of the many things that lead to a dramatic increase in price.

Sigh.

Well, once again, thank goodness for Direct Care. Where we’re always searching for a better way. And we won’t stop until we’ve found it. In fact, the docs at Atlas are working with Wichita State University’s Innovation department to develop a product similar to the prefilled syringe case mentioned above that’s an even better fit for EpiPen syringes. See what freedom can do?

Posted by: AtlasMD

July 18, 2016

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Hello. I Am Direct Care.

IAmDirectCare01Let me introduce myself.

I am Direct Care. I am compassionate, interested, and proactive. I give my blood, sweat and tears in my efforts to improve the status of our nation’s healthcare. I value quality above all else, and I refuse to let a little bit of red tape get in my way. I keep my scissors sharp. I think patients who can’t afford costly health insurance still deserve medical attention from a family physician. I also think people who can afford health insurance deserve something better than being forced to flail and drown in its turbulent waters – their heads held under by big government.

So, I help.

I’ve cleared a path from those who want something better to those who provide it. I help doctors actually practice the techniques they were taught in medical school instead of fill out paperwork at a desk. I help those same doctors fall back in love with their career – for they chose one that can help so many. I put patients first no matter what the cost. I am gaining momentum. I Am Direct Care.

There’s more to me than meets the eye.

I may seem all nice and humanitarian on the surface, but ohhh am I demanding. I insist that those who embrace me maintain flexibility in their schedules to garner not only patient satisfaction but physician satisfaction. I insist both sides win. I will settle for nothing less than a system that relies on itself rather than a network of third parties who only want a piece of the proverbial pie. I turn an angry shade of red when doctors and patients are taken advantage of by the system. But I know the ending to the story third parties tell… it’s not a happy one. I Am Direct Care.

I have so much to offer.

Real, honest doctor-patient relationships. Comfortable offices that only vaguely resemble a medical establishment. Same-day and next-day scheduling. Home visits. Wholesale prescription costs for meds out of the in-house pharmacy, deep-discount coupons for the rest. The ability for patients and their doctors to communicate how they want. Affordability. The list goes on and on, because I Am Direct Care.

I have incredibly high standards. But I care about you, so I make them incredibly easy to meet. I am bound by only the rules I write. I am the future of medicine. I Am Direct Care.

Posted by: AtlasMD

July 11, 2016

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What’s up with MACRA? Mass Exodus.

MACRA is happening in January, and Direct Care is waiting with arms wide open.

Okay, let’s backtrack. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) is expected to result in penalties for 59% of physicians in practices that have fewer than 25 clinicians. But what exactly is MACRA? Medscape.com explains.

“MACRA replaced Medicare’s sustainable growth rate formula for setting physician reimbursement with the Quality Payment Program, which represents a shift from fee-for-service to pay-for-performance. The Quality Payment Program has two tracks: the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), which most physicians will initially participate in, and Advanced Alternative Payments Models for physicians more accustomed to getting paid based on how they perform on quality and cost-control measures.”

So what’s the result of all this? That’s where the exodus thing comes into play.

“Almost four in 10 physicians in solo and small group practices predict an exodus from Medicare within their ranks on account of the program’s new payment plan and its punishing penalties.”

For small practices, sticking it out in traditional healthcare won’t be easy.

A small business is hard enough to keep afloat without rules and regulations constantly trying to drown it. We get rules are there for a reason, but at what point is it all just too much? And how on earth is everyone supposed to keep up?

“CMS is trying to allay physician fears about MACRA. It has budgeted $100 million during the next 5 years to help small practices get up to speed on the law. The agency acknowledges that complying with MACRA, particularly its reporting requirements, promises to be harder for smaller practices than bigger ones, which have more financial and personnel depth.”

That’s a 5 year learning curve a lot of docs won’t put up with, and quite honestly we don’t blame them. But instead of throwing in the towel, or even getting frustrated, imagine your career in a different light. One that you shed directly on your patients. It’s true – some physicians come to Direct Care out of frustration. But in this case, the grass is definitely greener on the other side. So come on over.

Direct Care isn’t just any solution. It’s a good solution.

Let’s consider the alternative to penalties and a laundry list of rule and, consequently, lifestyle changes. You’re looking at the opportunity to make your own decisions. To free yourself from the restrictions third parties hold you down with. To spend your time focused on patients rather than buried under a mountain of Medicare paperwork. All this freedom doesn’t mean sacrificing income, either. It only means a lot fewer paper cuts.

Update: It hasn’t even been implemented yet, and MACRA is already breaking down. See why “962 pages of gibberish” is causing an uproar and may essentially cause a delay in the new rule’s launch…

When Quality Metrics Ruin the Quality of Care.

Sigh. We knew this would happen… traditional healthcare is getting in the way of itself again.

Quality measurement is a good thing on paper, and not something to be ignored. But implementation of it is, well, complicated. And according to some recent studies, largely unhelpful. When you get down to the nitty gritty, we’re not convinced it does more good than harm, and Dr. Don Berwick, one of the nation’s leading champions in high quality, patient-centered care agrees.

“I have tremendous doubts about the accuracy and utility and overall wisdom of quality metrics at the individual level,” Berwick says. “When it’s a ‘falling off a log’ standard that you know everyone would want the same way then it’s good to know we’re adhering to the standard. The problem comes when we don’t get a chance to modify them to fit individual needs. Can we really be smart enough to write rules that get down to the level of what’s right for each individual patient? So we have to be really careful about these rule-based standards.”

Because it’s true that “doctors are so much more than metrics.”  In fact, a lot of docs feel metric bloat has had a negative impact on quality care. Oh, and it’s not worth the money it takes to implement, either, apparently:

In 2015 the Institute of Medicine issued its own report on the proliferation of quality measures, which found that “the growth in measurement and reporting activities results in considerable expense and requires substantial time commitment, without a matching return on investment.”

It seems that spending too much time measuring the quality is actually ruining the quality. Suddenly this is all too convoluted and you’re thinking – there MUST be a better way. Enter stage right – Direct Care. Where quality is literally the foundation on which DPC practices operate. No need for measurements. Quality just… is. It’s baked into every part of a Direct Care doc’s day – from the smaller number of patients they see, to the longer appointment times, all the way to billing transparency and acute interest in saving their patients money.

Quality shouldn’t be measured in numbers, but rather patient satisfaction. And as more and more patients opt for a truly personal relationship with their physician, Direct Care smiles from ear to ear. Because it has everything we need to show patients what quality’s really like – without any of the controversy.