Posted by: AtlasMD

November 19, 2014

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What Really Happens When You Cut the Red Tape?

Dr. Michael D. Shaw takes us to the heart of what Direct Primary Care is all about in his recent contribution to HealthNewsDigest.com.

“The doctor/patient relationship has deteriorated precisely because the patient is no longer the client.”

The moment physicians are forced to turn their attention from a patient, hold up one finger as if to say, “Hold on.” and become engaged elsewhere is the very moment the doctor patient relationship begins to break down. It’s all traced back to the fact that physicians must see so many patients in such a short amount of time… and are therefore forced to spend on average a mere 7 minutes with them during the appointment.

Third parties. Insurance. Bureaucracy. 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

REBEL.MD: The War on Physicians Escalates

The Sunshine Act attempts to shed light on a potential ulterior motive of physicians influenced by exterior perks, but in what seems to be the latest attack on physicians, Direct Primary Care advocates like Dr. Cavale are fighting back.

“After nearly 20 years of clinical practice, I have yet to encounter even one instance where I felt I prescribed a drug or referred a patient for a test under the influence of a payment or gift from a pharmaceutical company… Our loyalty is and should be to our patient only and patient benefit should be our criteria while prescribing a drug or device.”

Dr. Cavale is in the DPC business to create trust between he and his patients, not tear it down with seemingly unsubstantiated claims.

“The Sunshine Act adds one more suggestion that patients should distrust their doctors. I am not surprised that leaders of both political parties gang up against physicians, but I am astonished that the major media outlets have bought into this notion, without asking for evidence of conflict. Could it be possible that these actions are a concerted effort by those in power to force patients to accept government-prescribed cook-book medical care as the only option available to them, by forcing physicians to be mere pawns in this chess game? Someone tell me it ain’t so!”

But take solace in the fact that word of mouth is powerful. Very powerful. So, may the patients of Direct Primary Care clinics tell the world about the positive experiences they have with their physicians. May they spread the word about how DPC docs put their patients first.

May they declare with confidence that they trust their Direct Primary Care physicians, and in doing so put this whole thing to rest. Once and for all. 

DPC is More Than a Trend. Dr. Wulfers is Proving It.

According to an article published on ILuvLocalPlaces.net, Direct Primary Care physicians who are “making the radical departure from traditional healthcare” have the answers to the negative connotation healthcare carries these days. The positive paradigm shift is reflected in the words used to describe DPC.

  • “… old school care with advanced technology and modern medicine.”
  • “… small number of patients, top notch referrals…”
  • “… access to wholesale medicine…”
  • “… preventative checkups, same day appointments…”
  • “… 24/7 access to your physician.”

Dr. Mike Wulfers of IndependentMD in Missouri is one of the “trendsetters” of DPC, and like so many other physicians, he was unhappy with the way healthcare had been evolving. So he did something about it. As a result, he’s operating a practice that puts his patients first – just the way he always imagined. Rather than facing retirement with a bitter taste in his mouth, he’s able to continue his career in a truly meaningful way. He partially credits Atlas MD’s Dr. Josh for showing him back to what he feels is the root of medicine.

“In March of 2013 we were driving to Florida. On a Sunday morning  I had my iPad and was Googling Direct Primary Care and started looking at the practice in Wichita… I sent the email and about 10 min later my iphone rings and it’s Dr. Josh himself.”  He laughs as he talks about his surprise in how quickly they responded.”

Dr. Wulfers is candid about how his retirement alternative is going for him: “I’m having loads of fun!”

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.

Posted by: AtlasMD

October 10, 2014

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Michigan Takes a Step Back… To The Basics of Healthcare.

In Lansing, Michigan, the Senate Committee has decided SB 1033 will move forward. According to the Direct Primary Care Journal, the bill expands access to Direct Primary Care Service by “assuring physicians who convert their practice to a Direct Primary Care Service model that the administrative burden associated with insurance regulations will not interfere with their treatment of patients.”

Those supporting the bill are doing so on the grounds of logic and common sense: a direct result of Direct Care is quality healthcare from spending less money and more time. In fact, employers who adopt health plans featuring Direct Care not only give the gift of better healthcare to employees, but save up to 30% compared to more traditional insurance programs. The benefits continue:

“Widespread adoption of this care model could potentially turn the tide on primary care physician shortages in our state. It would yield an effective doubling of the capacity of current primary care physicians and expand access to care in rural communities. Doctors would finally be able to spend more time with individual patients and effectively put an end to ‘fast food’ health care.”

Just one more way the Direct Care movement gains momentum as the battle for better patient care and passionate careers for physicians rages on across the United States.

The Social, Functional, Custom EMR Wishlist.

Dr. Val Jones wants more from her EMR.

She’s looking for social functionality, accountability, ease of use and _personality_. She has high expectations of the docs in her community. She knows that by entering comprehensive notes in the patient’s chart, everyone is better off for it. She can only imagine how useful being able to attach photos to those notes would be. And she definitely sees the benefit in being able to tag notes for easy search and reference later on.

Dr. Val, we hear you. And we felt the same way, which is why we jumped at the chance to create an EMR for Direct Care docs, by Direct Care docs. The Atlas.md EMR stacks up pretty well to Dr. Val’s wish list. Let’s break it down: Read more

HEALTH MEDIA: Explaining Your Job IS Marketing.

According to Alex Lubarsky of Health Media, there’s more to great marketing than just doing great work. You have to teach, too.

“Understanding marketing is crucial. If educating the public about your service is not incorporated into the cost of doing business, if it is something that comes as an afterthought rather then top-of-mind, true success will always be just around the corner French-kissing your competition. You will either learn to embrace marketing or you will always be at the mercy of those who do.”

READ THE ARTICLE ONLINE >

Lubarsky says healthcare is suffering most from this too-often overlooked marketing technique. And that’s why docs are so out of touch when it comes to how healthcare actually works.  Read more

Atlas MD Podcast 20 – Answering the Why.

Atlas MD Podcast 20 – Answering the Why.

STREAM EPISODE 20 OF THE ATLAS MD PODCAST ON iTUNES >

Direct Care is expanding! More and more clinics are opening their doors using the Direct Care model, including specialty practices like endocrinology, and psychiatry clinics. The chiropractic community has also been listening lately, some of them adopting a monthly membership model themselves. Lending to a busy upcoming travel schedule, the Atlas MD team is working hard to not only dispel the myths of Direct Care, but continue to answer questions and educate those who want to learn more about this model of healthcare.

In this Podcast: Answering the Why.

Derived from a talk on behavioral economics, Drs. Josh and Doug explore how people make decisions based on their financial situation. The method of explaining how a $50 monthly is better than a $20 copay can be phrased different ways to get different responses – and being able to explain those situations comes from knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing in the first place.

Listen in to find out how Direct Care medical professionals have the best “Why” ever.

STREAM EPISODE 20 OF THE ATLAS MD PODCAST ON iTUNES >

Are Patient Portals Really Relevant?

Patients say the answer is no.

If this shocks you, the rest of the stats will really throw you for a loop. According to Mobi Health News,

  • 49 percent of patients know their doctor’s office offers a patient portal (but don’t necessarily use it)
  • 40 percent were not aware of a patient portal offering
  • The remaining 11 percent of patients know their doctor doesn’t offer one

When a patient portal does it right, it offers helpful articles in addition to account status, a way to get in touch with the doc, or even join an online forum to discuss what other patients within the portal might be going through. But even if all these stars are aligned, even if the portal exists, and the patient knows about it, who’s to say they’ll actually use it? Read more