How fast is direct primary care growing?

It has long been known that the number of direct primary care (DPC) practices is increasing throughout the US. A concept that began in its current form only around the turn of the 21st century, the DPC practice is growing in popularity among independent physicians who no longer want to deal with insurance companies and with patients who appreciate the more personalized service they receive from their physicians.

The exact number of DPCs has only recently been mapped, however, and those numbers are showing significant increases in numbers of practices, numbers of patients, and average numbers of patients per practice. The DPC Trends Report uses the data from the mapping project to cull specific numbers and trends among DPC practices.

Data from the mapper shows that the number of DPC practices has increased to 620 in 2017, from 125 in 2014 when the data was first tracked. The total number of DPC patients in 2017 was 173,042, an increase from 5,988 in 2014. Average number of patients per practice increased to 279.1 in 2017, from 47.9 in 2014. Data for each year shows a steady and significant increase:

Number of DPC practicesEstimated number of DPC patientsAverage number of patients per practice


There are still no reported DPC practices in North Dakota or South Dakota, but the mapper has tracked practices in all other 48 states as well as Washington, DC.

The numbers as tracked over the past four years are probably conservative, as no precise census exists yet to determine the exact number of DPC practices across the country. However, the mapper definitely shows a fast-growing movement toward the DPC practice for both patients and independent physicians across the US.