Do you have FAST access to your doctor?

An excerpt from Medical Answers Now!: How Direct Primary Care Guarantees Fast Access to Your Doctor.

Direct Primary Care physicians get paid to be available. Patients pay for the peace of mind that their personal doctor will be there when they need them. As previously described, eliminating insurance from the primary care equation decreases the cost of care. This reduction in overhead allows DPC physicians to limit their patient panels to an average of 400 to 800 total patients—less than a third of typical insurance-based primary care physicians who are almost always responsible for more than 2,000 patients. This effectively triples the amount of time DPC physicians have available for each of their patients.

The DPC membership fee guarantees patients that their doctor will be available when needed via quick responses to phone calls, emails, and texts, same-day/next-day appointments, extended length visits, and an unrestricted number of doctor visits. Since each DPC physician is caring for a significantly reduced number of patients, appointments are not rushed, so the doctor has the time to listen and get to know and build a relationship with each patient.

In addition to investing more time in diagnosis and explanation of recommendations, the DPC physician is able to be proactive in following up with each patient and recalling them for periodic disease management, health screening tests, and preventive care. Finally, this additional time devoted to each patient allows the physician to become an advocate and adviser to help their patients to efficiently and cost-effectively navigate a complex American healthcare system.

Another benefit of not having health insurance involved in the relationship between primary care physicians and patients is that it is always clear who the doctor works for. A physician who is paid a flat membership fee by their patients is directly and solely accountable to their patients and is highly motivated to maximize the patients’ health, customer service, and satisfaction. The doctor’s incentive is to maintain high patient satisfaction, which is directly related to fast response times to calls, minimal waiting in the doctor’s office, and better communication during visits and when the patient is not in the office.

Not only are incentives aligned around service quality, but DPC arrangements typically offer at-cost pricing on labs and other in-office testing so there is no incentive for a DPC doctor to ever order a test that the doctor does not believe is absolutely necessary. Doctor and patient are also aligned to avoid unnecessary trips to the doctor’s office and unnecessary referrals as the DPC practice is never compensated on a feefor-service basis for conducting more office visits or referring a patient for care elsewhere.