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Shopping list for new direct primary care practices

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Many independent physicians are joining a trend toward a type of practice that allows them to spend more time with patients and less time with insurance companies. The Direct Primary Care (DPC) model operates on patient “membership fees” rather than per-visit fees. Those monthly fees paid by patients give them access to the provider in the office and beyond the visit, as well as a range of additional services, with no co-pay or deductible.

Are you ready to start your own DPC practice? Do you know what you will need to purchase before you open your doors? You will, of course, need an office for patient visits. You will also need to fill that office with the appropriate furniture and medical equipment necessary for seeing and treating those patients.

The number of patients you will see in a DPC practice will typically be lower than in a traditional physician’s office. Therefore, your actual physical space may be smaller. You will need a few chairs for your waiting room and a desk for patient check-ins. For patient privacy purposes, the desk should be sufficiently separated from the waiting area.

You may have one or two exam rooms that will require a couple of chairs and an examination table. You will also need cabinets that can be locked to store supplies. While all of this may sound like an expensive purchase, many DPC physicians, like Dr. Vance Lassey, who runs Holton Direct Care in Holton, Kansas, have found inexpensive equipment and furniture at surplus stores or hospitals.

Of course, to run an efficient DPC practice, you will also need an effective electronic health record (EHR) system that enables you to maintain your patients’ records, access visit notes quickly and efficiently, and communicate with patients in a secure manner. Add to your shopping list the computers necessary to input and maintain patient data and you’re on your way!

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