The Pen and Paper Era was Accident Prone. How is Medical Tech Better?

The Pen and Paper Era was Accident Prone

“A study from the pen-and-paper era showed that 1 in 15 hospitalized patients suffered from an adverse drug event, often due to medication errors. A 2010 study (using data collected during the pre-digital era) estimated the yearly cost of medication errors in U.S. hospitals at $21 billion.” – Medium.com

Whoa.

When you look at those stats, it’s no wonder the industry couldn’t wait for a better way. Technology has done so much good in the way of standardization and reducing the margin of human errors. EMRs and the like have made it easier for docs to spend less time charting and more time actually with their patients. The benefits far outweigh any negatives, but that’s only if you use technology responsibly.

We can’t leave our jobs totally up to technology, as the story over on Medium.com illustrates perfectly. If we do, we’ll miss things like a massive accidental overdose (patient needed one pill, got 39 instead) and nobody wants to feel the guilt Nurse Levitt experienced so intensely. We’ll miss dangerous drug interaction warnings and potential allergy notifications. We’ll miss the opportunity to avoid life-threatening situations. Whether we’re in a hospital setting, or a clinic setting, this kind of attention to detail still matters. Immensely.  

We know this. And we, as Direct Care professionals, have adopted a business model that wholeheartedly embraces the very two things that can prevent errors like this from happening — even in the technology era. 

1. We’ve gotten rid of red tape and policy that does nothing but convolute the simplest of tasks. In fact, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to build the EMR that we want, and have thus turned it into a product incredibly useful for hundreds of other Direct Care practices, too. It’s based on accuracy, simplicity and ease of use. There are people working around the clock to make sure these things work together in tandem. 

2. We have time. Time to think through every prescription we order and dispense. Time to double check dosage. Time to actually pay attention to the alerts that fire when an irregularity has been electronically recognized. This gift is not something we take lightly. 

Technology can certainly make our jobs — our lives — easier and more efficient. For that we’re thankful on a daily basis. But we mustn’t forget that we are the threshold for which all medical decisions must pass. We can’t check common sense at the door in lieu of an app that thinks for us. And because we have a business model that allows us to work to the best of our abilities, we love our jobs… and therefore don’t want to just go through the motions. 

So thanks to technology, for all you do for us. But more importantly, thanks to Direct Care, for existing so that we may also operate as the best versions of ourselves. 

Misinterpretation Gone Wild. The HIPAA Edition.

Misinterpretation Gone Wild. The HIPAA Edition.

We cannot breathe a sigh of relief deep enough to adequately express how glad we are to be cutting the red tape that surrounds traditional healthcare. More specifically, HIPAA. Its rules and regulations are so convoluted that people don’t know which way is up… and that leads to interrupting a private conversation in a hospital cafe reprimanding the wife of a dying cancer patient for speaking publicly about a patient. Baffled yet? Yup, so were we.

An article posted recently on the NY Times gave several instances where HIPAA was misunderstood, and the consequences could have been dire. Take Ericka Gray’s story, for example:

In 2012, Ericka Gray repeatedly phoned the emergency room at York Hospital in York, Pa., where her 85-year-old mother had gone after days of back pain, to alert the staff to her medical history. “They refused to take the information, citing Hipaa,” said Ms. Gray, who was in Chicago on a business trip.

“I’m not trying to get any information. I’m trying to give you information,” Ms. Gray told them, adding that because her mother’s memory was impaired, she couldn’t supply the crucial facts, like medication allergies.

By the time Ms. Gray found a nurse willing to listen, hours later, her mother had already been prescribed a drug she was allergic to. Fortunately, the staff hadn’t administered it yet.

Now, we get what HIPAA is trying to do: keep personal health information private. And that’s a noble gesture. But there are so many hoops to jump through just to get it right that there ends up being more ways to get it wrong. In the DPC world, we love communicating with our patients how they prefer. Read more

Celebrating Freedom!

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This year, Direct Primary Care Practices have put down roots in more towns across the U.S. than ever before, and if that’s not a massive reason to celebrate freedom, then we don’t know what is. But let’s take a minute to examine those freedoms a little bit closer.

DPC does more than give patients an alternative to traditional healthcare. It obliterates endless minutes spent in waiting rooms, hidden costs and anxiety-inducing response times. It provides a platform where patients truly feel like the priority they are instead of just one of thousands of folders in a filing cabinet. With the freedom to use means of communication like text, email, and Twitter DM, all roads lead to a better patient/doctor relationship. That being said, the patient isn’t the only one who benefits from DPC freedoms.

Providers in the DPC realm are happier than those within the walls of traditional healthcare. They have control over their schedule, never have to rush patients out the door, and have literally been given the gift of time. It’s no wonder they’re falling in love with medicine again!

The freedoms of Direct Care result in a better healthcare experience for those on the giving end… and on the receiving end. This weekend, celebrate being free to choose DPC.

Direct Care is a Slow Tsunami.

Overwhelming. Unstoppable. Enveloping.
Direct Care is taking the nation by storm, but unlike a tsunami, it’s not of the destructive variety. Rather than water, the country is being steadily blanketed with a refreshing alternative to traditional family medicine. As it slowly (but oh, so surely) spreads from town to town, city to city, more and more people realize how much they truly benefit from the patient-centric healthcare model.

Docs are getting excited, too. Every time they hear from a happy patient they wonder why it took them so long to transition in the first place. But even better, all the great feedback they’re hearing just validates they’ve done the right thing – not only for their patients but for themselves as well. Their quality of life skyrockets and their passion for medicine reignites. Once they’ve transitioned, it’s hard to look back at their old lives and remember how negatively they felt way back when.

Dr. Catherine Krouse has gone Direct Care precisely because of the difficulty of that old life. “You just end up getting drained and drained and drained. And then when your cup is completely empty, then you just get guarded and angry. And then you put up walls, and that really creates barriers.” Read her full story here and learn about the newest Direct Care practice in Falmouth, Maine called Lotus Family Practice.

 So as this #slowtsunami continues to commence with many more stories just like Catherine’s, the Direct Care community expands with confidence and the staying power to make patients and physicians happy for the long haul. 

Atlas MD Podcast 21 – Inside the Mind of Medical Students

Atlas MD Podcast 21 – Inside the Mind of Medical Students

In the latest podcast, Drs. Josh and Doug talk about their upcoming travel schedule, which recent updates to the Atlas.md EMR have made the most impact on clinic efficiency, the launch of IAmDirectCare.com, and how a $600 prescription turned into $6 (that’s not a typo!).

Next, the docs open up the floor to two medical students from Kansas City who have been shadowing Atlas MD for the past month. The students verbally explore their chosen paths, and express how Direct Primary Care fits into their future plans. Then they grill Josh and Doug on a handful of questions everyone’s thinking, but may not be asking out loud. They discuss marketing practices, how DPC sells itself, why it’s best not to offer insurance out of the gate when starting your DPC practice, and how in the world some docs still don’t see the benefit of the DPC model. The students don’t hold back and succeed in getting their answers.

Through it all, it’s becoming more clear that the DPC message is reaching more physician hopefuls throughout more aspects of their training. Although it can sound too good to be true, docs are learning that the DPC model can solve a lot of problems for a lot of people if implemented in the right way.

Listen to Podcast 21 here for all the details! > 

Posted by: AtlasMD

February 13, 2015

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Business Insider: Why Your Doctor is Always Late.

Twenty minutes goes fast. Really fast.

So fast, in fact, that in the blink of a eye 20 minutes will vanish in the course of an already busy day. It takes a lot to stay on schedule in 20 minute increments, and only a little to throw a string of 20 minute time slots completely off course. (Pee fast!)

Welcome to the life of a physician who begins her day knowing there’s a very high probability her timeliness will derail halfway through the morning.

In a recent article published on Business Insider, “Dr. Tardy” outlines part of her day, giving examples of the types of patients she sees and the time it takes to care for them well. Through the interruptions, mishaps, and even some unexpected generous gaps to make up for lost time, she demonstrates that real patient care can’t be scheduled in 20 minute slots.

Dr. Tardy explains that she tries her hardest to “do the right thing for her patients, tries to take the time to listen without making them feel rushed.” And maybe that’s true. But what if she didn’t have to try so hard? Think how different her day would be if she knew she had 45 minutes (at least!) with each patient. If, when she needed to call a patient to explain the urgency behind an impending trip to the ER, that call wasn’t interfering with her next patient.

Hmmm… Dr. Tardy needs to be introduced to Direct Primary Care, where patient care is put above all else. The thing is, traditional medical practices say that, too – that patients come first. At the end of the day, actions speak louder than words, which is why the DPC business model is built around patient care rather than patients being squeezed into an impossibly tight schedule in a feeble attempt to keep their doors open.

In a world where a patient being 15 minutes late doesn’t derail the day, Dr. Tardy could change her name to Dr. Timely.

Read the full article over here on Business Insider. >

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