What is Direct Primary Care?
Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a model of primary care that gives physicians alternatives to traditional fee-for-service insurance billing. Direct primary care physicians charge their patients a retainer, whether it be monthly, quarterly, or annually that is used to cover services. Often supplemental insurance for emergencies situations is suggested.
The DPC Model
Spending more time with patients is the ultimate goal of DPC. The core principles are patient-centric and prioritize the patient-physician bond. The unique payment structure of direct care eliminates many of the administrative burdens physicians face, freeing up more time to focus on a patient’s care plan.
Engaging with patients is another priority for DPC physicians. Patient engagement can include sending and receiving messages with patients, communicating lab results and discussing general health information. Keeping a channel of open communication with patients builds trust and subsequently strengthens the patient-physician relationship.
Benefits of DPC for Physicians
DPC rewards physicians for treating the whole patient. Because DPC physicians are not as concerned with the number of patients seen per day, physicians can spend more quality, face to face time with patients and can develop stronger relationships with their patient population.
DPC physicians also reported reduced overhead costs at their practices compared to traditional primary care practices. Many of the administrative duties are reduced because there is no longer a need to hire staff that handles third-party insurance claims.
Simplifying the billing and administrative work for physicians also provides DPC physicians with a better work-life balance. Physicians experiencing burnout might find the schedule of a DPC physician, with a more intimate patient panel, appealing.
Benefits of DPC for patients
Smaller patient panels for physicians leads to more individualized and personalized care for patients. DPC physicians are easier to access and care is timely and convenient for the patient. Many DPC physicians even offer extended hours and are always available via phone.
Beyond the greater access to comprehensive care, patients find that DPC care is oftentimes more affordable and more flexible to their unique needs.
Whether you are interested in starting a DPC practice, just starting out a DPC practice or a DPC veteran, doing your research and staying up to date on the latest on this ever-evolving and innovate model of care can help you achieve your practice goals. Learn more about direct primary care and the greater direct care movement by subscribing to this blog or downloading our recently released DPC playbook!