Why Is Direct Primary Care Appealing to Patients?
The healthcare industry is rapidly changing, and one renewed focus is patient care–more specifically, the transition many people are making from traditional primary care to direct primary care (DPC). DPC has a strong focus on the relationship between the doctor and patient rather than the traditional focus on the patient’s documentation or medical records. So why else might DPC be appealing to patients? Here are four reasons:
DPC is cheaper
With DPC, patients typically pay a monthly or yearly retainer fee. But sometimes when people hear about a monthly membership fee, they get nervous. They might equate it with concierge medicine (which is when you pay an annual fee), and think this type of practice will be out of their budget. Once they compare costs though, they may see that a DPC structure may help save them money. To elaborate, one study found that practices with the term ‘DPC’ charged a lower fee of $77.38 (on average), compared to practices that use the term ‘concierge’ to describe their care model, which charged an average of $182.76.
DPC is more convenient
Most fee-for-service primary care physicians are managing a huge panel size. However, with the DPC model, they can see fewer patients more often. That means patients no longer have to wait weeks for an appointment. And, since DPC practices typically offer things beyond the limited range of traditional primary care (like wholesale prices for medications), patients can knock a few more of their health to-dos off their list in one visit.
DPC may be more effective
The DPC model actually may be more effective than primary care. In fact, a British Medical Journal study of Qliance found that people who used DPC experienced 35% fewer hospitalizations, 65% less ER visits, 66% fewer specialist visits, and 82% less surgeries, than patients who received primary care. When it’s coordinated and continuous, this type of primary care prioritizes prevention and wellbeing, rather than simply treating a disease. That means people may be able to better manage issues before they become, well, issues.
DPC is more personal
Patients using the DPC model can take a more active role in their healthcare by selecting their own physician through price transparency and easy access. On the contrary, by seeing fewer patients, doctors are able to spend more time and get to know each patient on a more personal level. And without the need for constant insurance-mandated EMR documentation, physicians can connect with their patients on a more human level. Additionally, with DPC, physicians have more time and flexibility to frequently discuss and assess lifestyle plans with patients, since they typically have fewer clients and offer extended hours.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.