One of the biggest challenges in establishing a direct primary care (DPC) practice is ensuring that your patients understand how it works. Attracting new patients will also require educating your community on DPC and what you have to offer them.
Individuals in the community will certainly have questions. How does DPC benefit patients? How does direct primary care work? What are the benefits of a DPC practice? A successful educational strategy will provide the information patients and potential patients need to feel confident and even excited about your practice model.
Use a variety of methods to reach the community, including social media, in-person talks, and printed materials. Volunteer to speak to community service groups and get involved in local business organizations. The more individuals in the community get to know you, the more success you will have in educating your community on DPC, including how it works and its benefits.
Start with your current patients. If you are in a traditional model practice and planning to transition to a DPC or you’ve just launched your DPC practice, make sure your existing patients understand the benefits of a DPC practice. Then encourage them to help you spread the word to their friends and family members.
Use your website to help educate potential patients about the way your DPC practice works. Most new patients will search for you online before making their decision on a healthcare provider. Be sure your website contains all the relevant information about you, your team, and the DPC model itself.
When discussing how DPC works and how it benefits patients, emphasize some key points about the DPC practice model:
- Payment is made through a membership fee, which covers most basic primary care services
- DPC practices do not accept or file insurance
- Patients may want a high-deductible “wraparound” policy for emergencies or hospitalizations
- Patients will see significant cost savings and predictable medical expenses given the membership model of the DPC practice
- As a DPC provider, you have more time to spend with each patient.
Emphasizing the last point will help you convey the importance of how DPC benefits patients. You are able to focus on each one individually and to care for the whole person.
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When educating your community on DPC structures and benefits, include the fact that you have this additional time because you are not spending time on insurance and other administrative paperwork. Your patients will have your full attention during extended office visits and will have the opportunity to communicate with you after hours as well.
Since you have a smaller patient panel in a DPC practice, you can get to know your patients better. Developing that all-important relationship with patients entails understanding their medical history, their current concerns and goals, and creating an opportunity to provide more personalized care for each one. Include these benefits as well when educating your community about your DPC practice.