Physicians attending the Direct Primary Care Summit in July 2018 were enthusiastic about the direct care model of healthcare. As the president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), Albert Fisher, MD, noted, “Palpable energy filled the lecture hall.”
Summit attendees learned about starting, promoting, and running a successful direct care practice from experts in the field. Most indicated that the model of working directly with patients, bypassing insurance and reimbursement-based regulations and paperwork, was attractive to them and their patients. As Dr. Fisher noted, “There is renewed interest in independence and autonomy. At the end of the meeting, I felt optimistic about the future of the practice of private medicine.”
Physicians were advised to plan carefully before launching a direct care practice. They were also shown how a direct care practice can benefit physicians and patients, particularly those patients who are “working people.” Many direct care physicians at the Summit were excited about working with employers to provide healthcare as part of their company benefit, noting that “DPC can offer convenience and is a good employee benefit. It may help reduce absenteeism for small employers. For the DPC practice, working with employers brings in new patients.”
Direct care patients enjoy the benefits they receive from personalized healthcare and from the cost savings involved in their membership. Many direct care physicians who spoke at the Summit dispensed medications in-house, in particular cost-saving generics, and believed that “In-house drug dispensing is a great financial benefit to patients.”
Marketing advice for the direct care physician included using review pages such as Yelp to reach new patients. These review pages include testimonials from satisfied current patients, which do more to promote the direct care practice than paid advertising. As Dr. Fisher noted, “Patients have a much more positive experience in DPC” and will be likely to provide good reviews for their direct care physician.