Direct primary care (DPC) practices typically see fewer patients than a traditional practice. A DPC usually also opts to not accept patient insurance. As a result, overhead for a DPC is significantly reduced, overhead that includes staff members. When the practice does not bill per visit or bill for insurance reimbursement, there is less need for people to perform these duties. The DPC does bill for monthly membership fees but will generally not require the typical fully staffed office found in an independent physician’s practice.
A DPC physician who wants to attract staff to the practice should keep a few things in mind. With a smaller staff, it is even more important that the people working in the practice are able to work as a team. Owen Dahl, writing in Physicians Practice, suggests that potential staff should be evaluated based on three factors:
- Knowledge. A DPC’s staff must be knowledgeable not only of how the DPC practice operates, but may also need medical knowledge, to be able to assist the primary care provider with patient engagement and care.
- Skills. Although there is less to do in regard to billing in a DPC practice, there is still a need for effective practice management. Staff members must have the skills to manage appointments as well as patient membership fees.
- Attitude. In a small office setting, such as that found in a DPC, the staff’s attitude toward the practice, toward the patient, and toward each other can make a significant difference in the patient’s experience. Staff must be able to communicate effectively with everyone involved with the practice, especially the patients.
Dahl also writes that by 2020, about half of the workforce will be millennials, those employees currently in their mid to late 20s. When staffing the DPC practice, the independent physician must keep in mind that the “mindset of these employees is built around learning, involvement, and participation in the organization,” so putting a plan into place that enables this new workforce to grow and develop their own skills will prove beneficial as well.