Posted by: Atlas MD

September 27, 2022

What’s New in Atlas.md? Visual Charts for Lab Results Data.

Data of all kinds are interesting and beautiful.

But they’re not very useful unless you have some way of interacting with and understanding them visually. It’s like tracking your favorite stock’s performance with a list of numbers rather than a neatly-plotted graph.

To help better understand more types of data visually, we’ve introduced a way of creating charts for any imported lab results.

Now, you can generate a visual chart of the data and see how it changes over time.

If you’d like to see how a patient’s cholesterol levels are doing, for example, you can glance at a visual chart of their results and see how the levels have fluctuated over days, weeks, months, or years.

Simply head to the Vitals and Stats page of a patient’s chart and select which available lab results you’d like to see – Atlas.md will take care of the rest.

If you want to know more about how visual charts for lab results data work, check out this help article. And if you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at support@atlas.md.

Posted by: Atlas MD

August 2, 2022

What’s New in Atlas.md? Macros-on-Macros for Lab Result Data.

In a previous blog post we detailed a number of improvements we made to note-taking, including the integration of macro shortcuts with lab results. Today, we’re taking that one step further with macros-on-macros for lab result data.

This feature allows you to reference specific lab result data directly from your custom macros using the new #loinc shortcut. Now, you can pull up recent, up-to-date data with one single text shortcut, without having to manually reference those observations.

You can create a custom #cholesterolresults macro, for example, and quickly incorporate lab result data into your note-taking. Atlas.md’s autocompleter will pull up the most current observations for the test according to the LOINC codes you integrated into the macro.

If you’re unfamiliar with LOINC codes, check out our help article for more details and a table with the most commonly used LOINCs.

Lab-related note-taking just got even more accessible and streamlined.

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

Posted by: Atlas MD

July 26, 2022

What’s New in Atlas.md? Company Branch Locations.

Good news – we’ve got another update! This latest one was designed with big clinics with practices in multiple locations in mind.

Usually, all of the companies under an account share the account’s primary location, which means that billing for those companies is assigned to that location too.

But with Company Branch Locations, you can designate a new branch location for different companies under one account.

Once you change the branch location for a company, any new charges or payments by the company will belong to the selected branch location. Any items billed before this change will remain unaltered and still belong to the main company branch.

This feature allows for more precise tracking and control of revenue and payments across different companies and branch locations. Now, when you pull reports such as the Payments Report, the Charges per Location report, and the Billing History Report, any costs and revenue will be clearly organized according to the branch location that processed them.

This also makes it much easier to reconcile payouts and assign billing to different bank accounts and companies based on their location.

If you have any questions about company branch locations, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at support@atlas.md.

Posted by: Atlas MD

February 15, 2022

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

January 27, 2022

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

August 30, 2021

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.

Posted by: Atlas MD

June 29, 2021

The First 100: How To Get Patients Through the Door of Your New DPC

Starting a new practice or converting your current operation to a DPC clinic can be both simultaneously exciting and terrifying. On the one hand, making the jump to direct care provides you with the autonomy to build the clinic you want and really connect with patients. On the other, there can be a lot of uncertainty when it comes to successfully growing your clinic into a thriving business and building up a dedicated panel.  

Whether you’re converting to DPC from an existing clinic or you’re starting from scratch, understanding how to acquire new patients is crucial for your clinic’s success. To help you get over that hurdle and get the first 100 patients through your door, we’re going to take a look at a few strategies that every new clinic should be exploring.

Transitioning From an Existing Clinic

If you’ve decided to make the jump to DPC by converting your existing practice then your current list of patients is going to be one of the very best sources to recruit new patients from. Rather than struggling to attract new patients from the outset, this method allows you to build a reliable client base while also maintaining the relationships you’ve already established.

There are a number of incentives that you can extend to existing patients who stay with you through the transition:

  • Offer discounts to patients who enroll early. 
  • Demonstrate to patients in a practical way the money they will save by signing up your DPC clinic.
  • Speak to them personally about the benefits of DPC and explain in detail how you will be able to spend more time with them and provide better care. 

Transitioning From an Existing Employer

If you’re leaving an established employer to start a DPC clinic, this is an excellent opportunity to bring some of your patients with you. Since many patients value the relationship they have with their physician, they’re quite likely to accompany you on your direct care journey. This can be a big advantage when starting a new clinic, but just make sure that you’re not breaching any sort of contractual clause by inviting your patients to move with you. 

If there are no bureaucratic hurdles or clashes of interest, then follow the same advice as to the point above. Pitch DPC to your patients, offer them discounts and show them how much they have to gain by signing up. 

If you’re unsure whether or not you’re in breach of a contract, get in touch with Atlas.md’s free lawyer, Keen Umbehr Sr, at keen@atlas.md and he will help clear up any uncertainties. 

Starting from Scratch

If you’re starting a DPC clinic from the ground up then you’re going to have to get a bit more inventive with your methods for attracting patients. 

Connect With Your Community

Since direct care is an inherently local venture, then connecting with your local community is an obvious path to building up a dedicated panel. But for patients to abandon their current medical arrangement and sign up with your clinic, they will have to know and trust you. Which begs the question, how do you make yourself known, and how do you get people to trust you?

Attending local town meetings and canvasing town halls is one option. Take advantage of anywhere that offers you a platform and a chance to speak to local residents to share details about your clinic and how it can help the community. Show yourself – let people see your face that understand you’re here to offer a helpful service.

Consider joining business organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, your local BNI chapter, or any other small business association in your town and discussing the benefits of DPC with its members.

Remember – nothing scales like community.

Build Your Brand

Branding is something that doctors may not be familiar or comfortable with, but it’s important when it comes to building authority, trust, and recognition with prospective patients. Successful branding will make you and your clinic recognizable, memorable and help you stand out among the ranks of the numerous other healthcare services on the market.

A well-defined brand will not only allow you to attract new patients but also practice partners and media attention (which in turn will lead to more new patients). It communicates who you are, your mission, vision, and values, and allows you to connect with people across a number of different mediums, which is important for our next point:

Market Your Clinic Digitally and Traditionally

When you’re starting fresh, no one knows that you exist, so getting the word out about what you do, where you are, and how you can help is crucial. Some doctors struggle to get 10 or 20 new patients per month, but with the right marketing resources and strategies, you can far surpass that number.

Clinic Website

Your website is the first point of contact for many prospective patients; it’s the front door of your business in a digital age. If you haven’t already, set up a professional website that clearly details your services and the value you offer, answers all potential questions, eliminates hesitation, and encourages potential patients to enroll in your practice. Include an option where patients can sign up directly, and integrate a live chat so that you can communicate with visitors in real-time. It’s important to make the process as seamless as possible; slow, complicated websites lose visitors.

Social Media and Content Marketing

Social media and content marketing are two invaluable methods of marketing your clinic and connecting with patients directly. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube can all be used to create engaging content, build a large audience and funnel traffic back to your website. If the content is valuable, informative, and resonates with the audience you’re targeting, they’ll share it with their followings and help generate awareness of your practice.

A good example of a successful doctor using this strategy is Dr. Paul Thomas from Plum Health DPC. He maintains a blog, YouTube channel, podcast, and various social media accounts that contain a wealth of content describing his experience with direct care. His content is routinely shared by both patients and doctors, which in turn has increased his reach, authority, and the power of his brand. 

Legacy Media

Legacy media consists of traditional outlets such as television and radio shows, local newspapers, and magazines. The audiences of these mediums are large and local and have the potential for massive engagement. Reach out to local editors, anchors, and radio shows with a well-written proposition about your clinic, why it’s different, what it offers and how it can help individuals in the community.  Accept any offers for interviews or features that will help spread the word about your clinic.

Pitch to Employer Groups

Large employer groups present a significant opportunity for acquiring a large number of patients quickly. Applicable large employers (ALEs) are required under the Affordable Care Act to provide full-time workers with minimum essential coverage that meets affordability and minimum value thresholds. While companies generally aren’t allowed to use DPC in lieu of ACA-compliant coverage, they can offer their employees direct care alongside cheaper, high-deductible health plans, ultimately saving them massive amounts of money in the long term.

When pitching your clinic to employers, explain the benefits that they will receive when signing up their employees to your clinic. Demonstrate in a practical way the money they will save and the benefits their employees will enjoy when it comes to unlimited doctor visits, wholesale medicine, less time off work, and no copays. If successful, your pitch has the potential to get you halfway to capacity.

You can also use a third-party broker to make contact with larger employers. Atlas.md, for example, makes use of David Powell & Associates. You can get in touch with David Powell at papadjp1946@gmail.com and see how he can help you get a foot in the door with employer groups.

Posted by: Atlas MD

November 10, 2020

What’s New in Atlas? Form Invitations, ICD-10 Search, QR Refill Improvements, and More.

While the days continue to chill we’re happy to announce a few new features – and the improvement of some existing ones – that we’ve been working on during the fall. These enhancements go a long way to improving Atlas.md’s functionality, helping you save time and provide even better healthcare.

Form Invitations

Having patients manually fill out forms is time-consuming for all parties involved. To help users gather data more quickly and effectively, we recently introduced Form Invitations, a feature that allows doctors to email forms directly to patients within Atlas.md. Time that would otherwise be spent manually inputting data can now be directed towards patients.

ICD-10 Search and Improvements

We introduced an ICD-10 Search to help users find ICD references more simply in the app. Since its inception, we’ve made some improvements so that users can now perform multiple searches simultaneously and export ICD data in an Excel-friendly format.

We also upgraded to ICD-10-CM 2021 to, among other things, accommodate for the new Covid-19 and vaping-related disorders codes. It’s now easy to tag and search for Covid and other related ICD cases.

Improvements to QR Refills

Since launching QR Refills we’ve made several important tweaks. When requesting a refill, patients can now add comments and provide information to the doctor handling the refill. Doctors can now also give patients the option of determining how they would like to receive their refill. This means fewer calls, less admin, and more thorough communication.

Improvements to Growth Charts

Finally, we have continued to improve on Growth Charts in a number of ways. Whereas previously visual charts were only provided for CDC charts, the feature now also provides full visual growth chart support for WHO charts.

We also added full support for both the imperial and metric systems of growth charts, respecting the account-level setting for units. Now you can view growth charts metrics in whatever way works best for you.

Lastly, we added a #growth macro that allows users to include a quick text-based representation of the most recent growth data of the patient. This is especially useful when adding text notes and reports to a patient’s chart.

Get in Touch

We hope these changes and additions are improving your experience. If you have any suggestions or questions you’d like answered, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at support@atlas.md.

Posted by: Atlas MD

December 9, 2019

What’s New in Atlas? Employee Enrollment Form.

In recent months we’ve turned our focus towards making Atlas more accessible and effective for companies and businesses. Our latest feature, Employee Enrollment Form, does just that by making the process of enrolling company employees into Atlas a more streamlined and straightforward affair.

Customized Employee Enrollment

Signing up to any clinic or medical service often involves an extensive amount of paperwork. For larger companies with dozens or hundreds of employees, this can be quite a time-consuming process. To make this entire operation less painful, we developed the Employee Enrollment Form feature. This lets companies create their own partially customized enrollment form that can then be shared with employees.

This feature can be enabled from the Company profile page in Atlas and functions almost exactly the same as the normal enrollment form. Users can customize certain aspects of their enrollment form, such as patient coverage, in order to refine their offerings based on their company needs and requirements. These customizations work independently and won’t affect any settings of the main account enrollment form.

Once enabled, users will be given an embeddable enrollment form link which they can then email to or share with employees. Any patient that enrolls from this link will then automatically be assigned as an employee of that company profile within Atlas.

If you have any questions regarding company enrollment forms, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line at support@atlas.md.

Posted by: Atlas MD

September 24, 2019

What’s New in Atlas? Forms.

Information and data are some of the most crucial modern tools being leveraged in the healthcare industry in order to deliver smarter, more informed care. Atlas’ new feature, Forms, is designed to make it easier than ever to collect and use this data.

Custom Forms

Gif of a clipboard and formWhereas traditionally doctors had to rely on manual charts and forms, now users can create custom, digital forms within Atlas for patients to fill in. Like traditional hospital checklists and flowsheets, these forms can then be answered to gather and track data over time.

 

 

 

The type of data gathered is entirely up to the doctor in question. Forms simply provides a blank but structured canvas that gives users complete discretion with regards to parameters of the questions they would like to ask, as well as the type of answers that they would like patients to give. It also allows for customization of the value field of the answers for greater specificity.

Gif of a question mark being resized

Once you’ve created a form, you can give it to as many patients and have it answered as many times as you like. You can then easily view and manage all of your forms and patient responses on the Forms dashboard.

Forms can also be answered outside of patient charts allowing doctors to use day-to-day checklists when running their practices.

For more details regarding forms check out our new help article, and if you have any other questions, please drop us a line at support@atlas.md.