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  • Writer's pictureJohn Kim

So Doctor, Would You Like to Create Your Own Direct Primary Care Practice?

So Doctor, Would You Like to Create Your Own Direct Primary Care Practice?


What is Direct Primary Care?

Direct Primary Care (DPC) refers to a practice where patients (members) pay a monthly fee - similar to joining a gym. Like gym membership, members gain access to services. A typical DPC includes physician services, discounted labs, enhanced access, and more. However, it is not insurance, and members should have either insurance or a health sharing program which would cover them for unexpected medical bills.


Why is Direct Primary Care Desirable to Physicians?

Direct Primary Care simplifies to Physicians and Patients without interference from insurance companies and health care systems dictating how medicine should be practiced, how many patients should be seen for how long, etc.


It is estimated about 60% of health care cost is spent on administration - which means DPC doctors see less patients and spend more time. There is high satisfaction for DPC physicians.


Why do Patients Prefer Direct Primary Care?

I called primary care physicians with my BCBS insurance. There appears to be about a 3 - 4 months wait. My physician cannot see me more than once in 3 - 4 month because of their schedule being so full. Last visit, my spouse had to wait more than 1 hour for a brief visit with her doctor. This is very common and now almost normal. It’s not the fault of the physician - they are captive to the health care system which is captive to insurance companies reimbursement policies.


If I wanted better access to a physician, I would have to rely on a DPC physician who could see me as early as next week. I can pay for my labs more often than insurance companies would allow - let’s say monthly labs v. every 3 - 4 month labs.


If one has a condition that is not under good control, seeing a physician once in 3 - 4 month may not be enough.


How Much Is It?

Nationally - $ 50 to $ 150

San Antonio Median - $ 100


Free DPC Resources


Books:


DPC Associations


FB Group (permission needed to join)


EHR to Consider

  • Atlas.MD - everything included transparent one price covers most (except for e-prescription)

  • Elation - offers an alternative with more integration partner services

  • AeroDPC - offers free services for the first 50 patients.

  • MedChartz - free system created for DPC by DPC

  • AthenaHealth - offers more support to practice but also one of the most costly.

  • Bagel.MD - coming soon

  • You can use any EHR that meets your needs if you have a membership management/billing company such as HINT or TwinOaks. HINT also provides HINT DPC Accelerator resources if you sign up.


Free Legal Resource

  • Nolo.com

    • This saved me thousands of dollars - however, I recommend a consultation with appropriate professional(s) or do your research in understanding benefits of LLC, PLLC, PC, etc for your state. However, if a professional would have filed, it would have been completed much faster than several months.

  • DPC Frontier - by Phil Eskew MD JD MBA - Recommend reading everything Dr. Eskew has written and watching every YouTube video Dr. Eskew is featured. Dr. Eskew can provide you with a sample patient agreement which you and your legal counsel can edit which should save you time and money.



Telephone System

  • Atlas.MD comes with basics.

  • Spruce Health is a popular HIPAA compliant option; RingRx can provide similar services with cheaper prices.

  • Fax is included in Atlas.MD, Spruce Health, and RingRx. There is also HelloFax, Innoport, InterFax and SRFax for dedicated services with HIPAA compliant options.


E-mail


Marketing

  • There are many services/individuals who claim to be “experts” in marketing… Let the buyer be aware.

  • I recommend BNI for in-person networking as it provides best result-oriented infrastructure (compared to Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, and Kiwanis). I would connect with your local DPC community and ask.

  • Most agree printed ads, radio ads, and other conventional ads yield inconsistent and low yield results with high cost.

  • There are many who promise quick return on investment. Caveat emptor - let the buyer be aware. My recommendation is you connect with your local DPC community and ask.

  • WORD OF MOUTH rules.

  • Free marketing with local, regional, and national media - research how Diamond Physicians received national media (free) which resulted in explosive growth!

  • Web -

    • DIY - I use wix.com with HIPAA compliant secure form (Hushmail); there are many DIY. Although WordPress is recommended, I was able to achieve 1st page search results after 1 month using “Content Optimization” and “long tail keywords.”

    • Local companies which created DPC practices (about $5000 and higher was quoted to me)

    • Search engine optimization is a must! - Most firms quote you $ 1000 to $ 3000 per month minimum of 6 months. DYI SEO recommendation is to watch everything Sam Oh presents on YouTube. I only implemented two things and it got me the first page after 1 month. I may consider signing up with one of the local firms.

    • Patient Pop provides all in one web solution - https://www.patientpop.com/

    • Affordable Google PPC Marketing - https://www.marketingbeaver.com/google-ads/


Accounting

  • Quickbooks online and integrates well with many softwares, banks, credit cards etc

  • Xero is another popular option


If you have other resources, please send me an e-mail: drkim@georgiaintegrative.com.


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