Even though the Direct Primary Care (DPC) practice model is structured in a straight-forward manner that harkens back to the day of the traditional family doctor, many patients still struggle with the concept. Insurance has been a major factor in primary care since the middle of the 20th century, so most people today do not remember a time when they paid the physician directly rather than going through an insurance company for healthcare coverage.
Educating your community about the DPC concept and about your practice involves a number of activities, many of which can be done at no or little cost.
- Start with your current patients: If you currently operate in a traditional model practice and are transitioning to a DPC, take the time to speak with your patients about the new concept. They will then, in turn, share the information with their contacts. Word of mouth is the best way to get the word out! Prepare informational sheets to distribute at the office and a mail or email campaign to educate patients as to what the DPC practice will be like. Include potential disadvantages for them in addition to highlighting the benefits, so they will have a true picture of your new practice.
- Use your website: Include an educational section on your website. Write blog posts that highlight the various aspects of DPC, particularly those benefits you are able to offer through your practice. Include downloadable copies of those informational sheets you prepared for your patients. Did you know that awareness and interest are at the top of the Marketing Funnel for a DPC?
- Use social media: Write posts that educate those in your community as to how a DPC works and what some of the benefits and drawbacks may be for patients and potential patients. Use hashtags that will entice readers and keep the content informative.
- Get involved in your community: Sponsor business events and local sports teams. Speak to community interest groups. Offer to host a workshop for service and civic groups. Keep the information you share educational rather than promotional.
- Contact local media: Your practice operates under a unique concept. Particularly if you have just opened a practice or have transformed a traditional practice to a DPC, you might have an interesting angle for a local newspaper or television station. Include just the facts and point out the educational benefit of such a story.
Educational efforts can pay off, with little to no cost to you and your practice. Patients will actually be more likely to trust the information they receive that has been disseminated through non-paid methods, particularly if they are learning something new and can see the benefits of that information.