Direct Primary Care

Rise in Direct Primary Care Practices All Over America

July 18, 2021

Harsha Moole, M.D., MBBS

There is a new kid on the block, and with some pretty loyal advocates behind it, it seems like membership-based models such as Direct Primary Care (DPC) are determined to take the health care industry under its wing for the better.

Direct Primary Care practices have begun to insert themselves into neighborhoods all over the United States, and this is the best thing that can happen for patients.

24/7 access to your primary care physician, unlimited clinic appointments, discounted out-patient services, and medication. So much more – Direct Primary Care has managed to make these valuable perks available to patients for a flat monthly subscription fee.

A major differentiator between Direct Primary Care and the traditional fee-for-service model is that patients get a clear-cut set of primary care services within their subscription. Co-pay fees, outrageous, unexpected charges, and insurance deductibles are things patients no longer have to worry about in Direct Primary Care.

The new and improved health care model is a major revamp of America's deteriorating fee-for-service model – a more convenient, accessible, and patient-centered iteration, that is.

COVID-19 has left a rush of unemployment in its wake, leaving more American citizens with no access to primary care at a time when they need it most.

It's either that or Medicaid, and we are all familiar with how the traditional, insurance-based system goes. Scarce clinic appointments and frustrating booking procedures were the status quo before COVID-19 even came to play.

For many patients, no access to primary care meant missed vaccinations, periodic diagnostic screenings, and unfulfilled prescriptions – medical situations which can take debilitating turns in the long run.

These developments have created an even bigger demand for primary care, a weight under which the traditional, insurance-based model falters.

This is precisely the reason why many medical experts believe the rise of Direct Primary Care could not have come at a better time. Direct Primary Care is a response to the systemic shortcomings of the traditional, insurance-based model.

Imagine ringing up your primary care physician in the middle of an emergency for medical advice. That is something entirely unheard of in the traditional, insurance-based health care model.

Not only does Direct Primary Care introduce patients to a more convenient, empathetic form of primary care, it also prevents patients from resorting to the emergency room as their primary care provider.

A study reveals that Direct Primary Care subscribers had "27% fewer ER visits, 60% fewer hospitalization instances, and cost their employers 20% less in comparison to non-DPC patients within the same area".

There are estimated to be over 1,219 Direct Primary Care practices in 48 states all over the country as of 2020. Numbers are expected to rise within the decade as more and more patients realize the benefits of having a Direct Primary Care subscription.

It is the pandemic responsible for ushering in both Direct Primary Care practices and Direct Primary Care subscriptions in the country. A win-win for doctors and patients alike.

Direct Primary Care's innovative methods of practice, such as telemedicine, have put this new health care model at the forefront of COVID-related care with lockdown restrictions.

Because a DPC subscription merits patients' access to their primary care physician's personal line, they can now reach their doctor via phone call, text message, or video chat for emergency consultations, house calls, and digital prescriptions.

These unique benefits of Direct Primary Care have been especially relevant during the pandemic, given that only a small percentage of COVID-19 patients are hospitalized.

Most COVID-19 cases are tagged as mild to moderate, which means that these cases can successfully be treated at home in isolation. No physician responds to these types of medical situations better than a Direct Primary Care physician.

Knowing that primary care is most often the first point of contact for patients, Direct Primary Care has played a significant role throughout the pandemic as the 'first in, last out' touchpoint.

Patients who subscribed to a Direct Primary Care program can attest that their DPC physician was largely involved in their COVID-19 journey, from the initial diagnosis to post-COVID health management.

Pandemic or not, Direct Primary Care plays a crucial role in keeping patients safe and healthy. After all, its primary goal is to nip potential diseases at the bud before they turn into ER trips and hospitalization.

It is a health care model which finally gives primary care physicians the freedom to do what they do best: take care of patients and keep them in the pink of health.

A 2014 survey found that 90% of patients who are subscribed to a DPC program are satisfied with the care they are receiving compared to 67% of patients in traditional community family practice. In addition, 97% of DPC patients think "their doctors take a personal interest in their health care," which is more than one-third higher than those in the traditional family practice.

No wonder advocates believe it was only a matter of time before the public appreciates this refreshing, new health care alternative. The future is here, and boy, are we so grateful.

Those reasons alone are enough for Direct Primary Care to get our vote of confidence. Do you think you would benefit from a DPC doctor? We have the most extensive collection of DPC doctors in the US. Find your nearest DPC doctor in your area today at – findmydirectdoctor.com

Authored by Harsha Moole, M.D., MBBS

Advocate of healthcare models that promote direct relationship between patients and doctors. Founder @ FindMyDirectDoctor, LLC.

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