Posted by: Atlas MD

June 29, 2021

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Posted by: Atlas MD

March 7, 2019

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What’s New in Atlas? Security for Security’s Sake

DPC Security

Atlas has always taken users’ security and flexibility to heart. We want our docs to be able to work the way they want to work. Today we’re giving you even more flexibility with how you secure your data.

We’ve had two-factor authentication (2FA) in the app for a long time now, and we sincerely hope that you’ve all had that enabled and are relying on it as yet another check. But many people don’t realize that SMS–like everything these days it seems–has its own vulnerabilities. 

Modern security standards advocate for a new sort of 2FA. One that relies on really strong cryptographic calculations instead of mobile messages winging through the air. Basically you install an app on your phone or device that continually updates a passcode based on an agreed-upon handshake with Atlas. 

This is such an oversimplification it’s a bit unfair, but for the sake of brevity, that’s how you can think about it. If you really want to understand more about how it works click over here.

Atlas now supports this more secure authentication method, and we hope all of our clinics adapt it into their workflow. You’ll need to make sure all your users grab one of those apps and then enable it on your settings page. The new help article on it will walk you through all the details. We’ve even got a nice video to help a complicated thing get simple. 

We hope you’ll enjoy the new security flexibility built into this feature. It’s peace of mind that you’re doing your best to keep your patient health data as safe as it can be. In the meantime, we’ll be over here trying to explain to people the difference between MFA, 2FA, MMS, and SMS … so many acronyms these days.

Posted by: Atlas MD

February 14, 2019

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What’s New in Atlas? Mentions and More!

Communication is the backbone of your business, and we’re always developing ways to help make communication between patients and colleagues even easier. With a smooth and quick mentions feature, you can now get answers or feedback even faster than before.

Mention Your Colleagues in NotesAnimated at symbol

Atlas is helping you get a little more organized. Instead of trudging through your inbox, we wanted to free up communication by letting you tag people in notes and when sending files.

Whenever you have a quick question for a doctor, need a colleague to review an item or file, or want to share a document before sending it back to your patients, you can now ping your colleagues that much faster by adding the “@” symbol before their name.

Your team members will be able to access and reply to all mentions quickly, so you can keep patient records organized and keep your practice running smoothly. Doesn’t that feel lighter?

For details on how to use mentions, check out our help article.

Interaction AnalyticsAnalytics feature

We didn’t want to stop by improving your messaging experience. We’ve also made at-a-glance stats a thing. Now you can grab all this when you export patient lists:

  • Date of 1st visit
  • Total number of chart interactions
  • Total number of prescriptions
  • Total number of appointments
  • Total number of attachments
  • Total number of diagnoses
  • Total number of tasks
  • Total number of lab results
  • Total number of calls
  • Total number of SMS Messages
  • Total number of Emails

So the next time you want to keep up with your patients, or help them keep up with you, you can make it happen with a few clicks.

Posted by: Atlas MD

November 8, 2018

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What’s New in Atlas? Improvements to Enrollment, Exports and More

We’re happy to announce a whole raft of new features and improvements we’ve released this fall.

Enrollment Improvements

Patient Quick Add for Companies
We’ve added the ability for you to use the short form to quickly onboard patients that are part of a company payment plan. So when you land that new big corporate group, you can get them into Atlas just that much quicker.

Notification Email Improvements
We’ve redesigned the notification emails for new patient enrollment to include even more of the useful details you might want to know at a glance.

Sidebar Improvements

Preferred Pharmacy NumberMortar and pestle with doctor symbol
Unfortunately one of the things many doctors have to do frequently is call the pharmacy for a patient. “Missing” faxes, refills, inventory, etc. No more having to dig. Your patient’s preferred pharmacy number is now right there in the sidebar when you view their chart.

Redesigned Medical History
Patient health history is even easier to review at a glance with the newly designed format in the sidebar.

Consistent Persistent Sidebar
Now Atlas remembers how you prefer to have your sidebar as you navigate the app. Open or closed, you get to have it how you like when you like.

Export Improvements

Excel Friendly Dates in .csv Exports
We’ve improved the formatting for data in .csv exports. Now the dates are automatically recognized by Excel without any fiddling.

Billing History Export to .csv
From the detailed billing history page of a patient or a company, you can now export the data in an Excel friendly format. This is a great way to share with parties who you don’t want to have direct access to Atlas.

Company Balance Export
If you need a list of companies who owe you money, you can now get a list and a total from the Company Billing page.

Dispense History Export Improvements
We’ve improved many things about the dispense history export. Manufacturer name, branch location, and patient contact data are some of the highlights. If you ever need a list of patients who are on a certain drug, you’re one click away from having a list of phone numbers and names.

Download and Print Options for Subscription Invoices
Now you can print or download all of your subscription invoices from Atlas. Easier to share. Easier to archive.

Improved Patient Export
Now you can see upcoming appointments and the primary doctor in the patient export.

Shipping History Export
Now you can export a subset of your shipping history. Filter by branch, or date range to get exactly the data you’re looking for.

Other Improvements

Disable Drag & Drop in the Calendar
Though being able to easily rearrange your calendar was one of our core design goals, not all users like things so fluid for every account. An accidentally dragged date can lead to a missed appointment, and an upset patient. Now you can disable the feature across your entire account.

Macros on Email Drug Labels
Now the macros you know and love throughout Atlas also work on the Email Drug Labels. Streamlining your workflow and messaging to your patients even more.

Wrapping Up

We hope you love all of the improvements to Atlas.md we’ve launched this month. If you have questions or comments, please send them over to support@atlas.md for a speedy response, or drop by our Facebook group to chat about things https://www.facebook.com/groups/atlasmd/

Posted by: Atlas MD

September 4, 2018

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What’s New in Atlas? Billing and Enrollment Improvements

In our ongoing efforts to let you run your clinic in the way that makes the most sense for you, we’ve launched a couple new small but large features. A checkbox here, or a radio button there can mean the difference between Atlas.md being a perfect fit, and not fitting at all for some clinics.

For the rest of us, the flexibility these features add will let us know that Atlas will continue to fit perfectly no matter how your clinic grows in the future.

Handling Fee for Prescriptions

You’ve always been able to control the prices for the medications you dispense in Atlas. But a feature that is often requested in support is to add a handling fee to the prescription. Our suggestion at support has always been to divide your handling fees across your inventory and just raise prices a bit.

That amounted to more work for some clinics, and Atlas is definitely not about making you do more work… Or math. Now you can add a handling fee for your prescriptions in Atlas.md. It’s as easy as filling in a blank under your settings. Everything else is automatic. Read more about prescription handling fees here.

 

Shorter Patient Enrollment Form

There’s no way around it. Eventually you have to collect a lot of data about a new patient joining your clinic. Previously that information was all collected at the time the patient joined your clinic.

But some doctors worried that they were throwing just too much at a new patient. Billing info, contact info, health history, family history, medications. On and on. It’s all vital data that you need to collect, but some doctors wanted to reduce the friction at that critical moment when a patient decides to join.

Now you can enable an abbreviated enrollment form for your patients. You can collect only those absolutely necessary bits of information needed for you to contact the patient, and initiate the billing process with them. Read more about the abbreviated patient enrollment form here.

 

Posted by: Atlas MD

August 28, 2018

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What’s New in Atlas? Improvements to the Billing Section

DPC is such a simple concept. But still clinics find many ways to make their businesses unique. One of our most often requested category of features has to do with billing flexibility. So we’re happy to announce two of our most often requested features.

Service Fees
Though many DPC clinics operate under a subscription model, many of our users are also beginning to offer bolt-on services. Procedures and services that go above the standard subscription fee.
Though you could always make special one-off charges to patient accounts, it never quite felt built in.
This week we’re launching a new service fees section inside of your billing tab. It allows you to create these optional services and their corresponding prices.
Then when you perform the service, you can add that charge right to the patient’s invoice with a single click. Learn more about the new service charge feature here.

Enrollment Fees
Another way Atlas users are customizing their billing structure is to add an enrollment fee at the time of patient sign up. Like with Service Fees, you could always hack this with a misc. charge, but it’s better when it’s built in.

Enrollment fees have a separate billing category and have full company coverage support, so companies can decide exactly how they want to cover for their employees.

Now under Settings / Clinic Extra Charges you can specify an enrollment fee. Then when adding a new patient, adding that fee to the patient invoice is a simple checkbox during account creation. What used to be four steps is now one. Better yet, they’re broken out in billing reports so you can see just how they affect the bottom line. Read more about the new enrollment fee feature.

Posted by: Atlas MD

March 6, 2018

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New EHR Study Proves U.S. Physicians Want More Time With Patients.

Physician checking boy's heartbeatInefficiency strikes again, it seems. But not how you might think.

A new study on how much time docs spend using their EHRs released its findings last month. Medscape broke it down and you can read the whole thing here if you want.

The article says EHR time exceeds patient face time in family practice visits. The study results imply that, “US [family physicians] spend more time working in the EHR than their European counterparts spend in the entire visit.”

This could very well be true for a whole lot of reasons. But we see things from another perspective. We think physicians in America are doing what they have to do in order to provide the best care possible for their patients. They’re required to document certain things a certain way, for certain (sometimes inexplicable) reasons. Sure, they could document all the things right there in the exam room with the patient. They could spend a majority of the visit staying caught up for fear of what falling behind will do to their evening (again).

But most of them don’t.

They know they only have a few sacred minutes to serve their patient well, and they want to make the most of it. So they’ll sacrifice their evening (yes, again) just so they can look their patient in the eye. Take time they don’t have to ask some quality questions and do what med school taught them.

It’s not their fault. They’re doing their best with what they have, which is limited time and a lot of mandatory paperwork. The system is broken and docs are among the victims.

These types of articles are full of numbers, and it’s good someone’s keeping track. At the end of the day, though, the results of this study give us renewed hope that more docs will opt for Direct Care instead of letting burnout get the best of them. The heart wants what the heart wants… and it’s not paperwork.