Direct Primary Care is carving a new path forward for physicians and patients in what is being hailed as the DPC Healthcare Revolution.
The DPC Healthcare Revolution is a new way of providing patient care which has risen as a response to some of healthcare’s most significant challenges. For some time now it has been widely acknowledged that there are significant challenges within the U.S. Healthcare System. From the patient perspective, healthcare costs have risen significantly, while the face time that they get with their attending physician has steadily decreased. From the physician perspective, MDs are struggling to do more with less, this includes:
- Providing better patient outcomes
- Seeing an increasing number of patients
- Seeing a decrease in compensation for patient visits
On top of all of this, patients are generally paying more for both insurance and healthcare visits and physicians have seen a growing complexity in filing claims and implementing new initiatives, which have driven up operational costs of their practices.
In response to this some physicians are “opting out” of the traditional healthcare system in a revolutionary way called Direct Primary Care.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) “The direct primary care (DPC) model gives family physicians a meaningful alternative to fee-for-service insurance billing, typically by charging patients a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee (i.e., a retainer) that covers all or most primary care services including clinical, laboratory, and consultative services, and care coordination and comprehensive care management.
Because some services are not covered by a retainer, DPC practices often suggest that patients acquire a high-deductible wraparound policy to cover emergencies. Direct primary care benefits patients by providing substantial savings and a greater degree of access to, and time with, physicians.”
So how different is the DPC Healthcare Revolution from traditional primary care?
In a recent article by the Lown Institute, DPC Physician Dr. Ryan Neuhofel, an early adopter of the DPC Model stated, “DPC is transparent in every way. Patients know exactly what they’re paying, and what they’re getting. And as a doctor, I feel like I’m working directly for my patients. I can refocus on the person sitting in front of me.
Dr. Neuhofel continued by pointing out “The magic of DPC is time. We set aside 30-60 minutes for every appointment, and we can give every patient same-day or next-day appointments. People think this is too good to be true, which is kind of sad. But there’s only so much you can do in 10-15 minutes with the patient. If they don’t have the time to sit down and talk with the patient, you’re going to have to refer them, get tests, etc. If you really believe in the power of relationship with the patient, I don’t see how that’s possible in 10-15 minutes.”
Dr. Neuhofel went on to say “I think so many patients have felt disenfranchised and let down by the medical system. Too often, they have been screwed over financially, and not heard. If you can sit down for 30-45 minutes, it makes a huge difference. The patient feels listened to, empowered.”
What are your thoughts on the DPC Revolution, and the Direct Primary Care Model? We would love for you to share them with us in the comments below!