Questions to consider when starting a new DPC practice

Whether launching a new practice or transitioning your current practice, there is a lot to consider when preparing for a direct primary care (DPC) model as an independent physician. You undoubtedly already have a lot of questions about how the DPC model works and whether it will, in fact, work for you and your practice. There are a number of factors you should consider that can help you as you prepare to start a new DPC practice.

Why should you consider the DPC model for your practice?

As the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) points out, an appealing aspect of the DPC model “for family physicians is that the retainer fee payment structure can greatly simplify the business of operating a family practice.” DPC practices typically do not accept insurance and so have reduced overhead expenses, particularly regarding office staff requirements. As a result, “DPC practices report significantly reduced operating rates when compared with traditional primary care practices.”

Are you financially stable enough to start up a new DPC practice?

The downside of the DPC model’s membership fee structure is that it may take time to build up a patient panel solid enough to cover expenses. You will need to set your membership fee structure, to make it realistic for your needs as well as for your patients’ needs. Elation Health’s Direct Care Playbook provides a simple calculation example that can help with setting appropriate fees.

Do you want to spend more time with patients?

The DPC model enables independent physicians to spend more time with each patient during their visits. The practice’s patient panel is generally smaller than in a traditional practice and, because of the financial structure, the independent physician can then spend less time on practice management.

Do you have the right technology for your new DPC practice?

An electronic health record (EHR) solution will help you manage patient information more efficiently. You will have immediate access to patient data that will enable you to focus more on your patients, improving healthcare outcomes and improving the health of your new DPC practice!