Have you ever scheduled a doctor’s appointment only to find yourself frustrated with long waits and, when you finally do get an appointment, having limited time with the provider? When you call your doctor for medical advice, are you actually able to speak with someone who is qualified to answer your questions? These days, interacting with the medical world is often exasperating and time-consuming. Believe it or not, doctors and their staffs find these problems frustrating too!
If you ask most doctors why they entered the medical field, they will say that they wanted to help people. Unfortunately, the work of American medical professionals is now, in many ways, dictated by government regulations and insurance requirements, which bog down the system in paperwork, billing, and financial distractions. These factors mean providers must hire more staff to take care of the paperwork, which then leads to the need to see more patients in order to pay for increased overhead. As patient loads increase, doctors spend less and less time with you, their patients. This also means it is often impossible to get in touch with your doctor outside of an office visit.
Thankfully, there are many family medicine and pediatric practitioners who have moved to a new model called Direct Primary Care (DPC). DPC gives doctors the freedom to get to know their patients better, improving their ability to give personalized care. In other words, DPC doctors are able to return their focus to helping people.
As a patient, you can benefit from DPC because it provides direct access to your doctor. Many DPC doctors give patients with their personal email address and cell phone number so they can be reached through a variety of avenues, including text message. Visits are usually scheduled for the same day or the next, with very little to no wait time upon arrival. Visits are also extended to 30-60 minutes to ensure all questions can be addressed that day. At each visit, DPC patients see their personal doctor, which helps with continuity of care and the building of a real relationship. Most DPC doctors also are able to view and address certain problems using technology, allowing patients and their families to stay at school or work rather than having to physically visit their office.
DPC also allows doctors to contract directly with their patients for a low monthly membership cost. Payment of this membership fee covers all sick visits and well checks, and often covers basic procedures and lab tests, which can be performed at the doctor’s office. Most DPC offices also contract with certain specialists and other providers to offer discounted rates for other services. When a DPC physician dispenses medications out of his or her office, the added convenience and cost reduction can be significant (often one-fourth of the usual price or less).
As you can see, there are many benefits to DPC for both the patient and the doctor. Liberty HealthShare believes in DPC. In fact, Liberty currently reimburses a portion of monthly DPC membership fees to those members who take part!
We are DPC providers in Wilmington, North Carolina. We know that our patients who are also Liberty HealthShare members appreciate the personal care, cost savings, and improved health that Direct Primary Care continues to provide for them and their families. If you have never explored what DPC can do for you, we hope you’ll do some research and find a local DPC clinic today!
Marc Yandle, MD and Nathan Cook, DO