At the cornerstone of our Health Rosetta, the blueprint for high-performing health plans, is Direct Primary Care - a direct-to-patient care model that cuts out the insurance middle-man.
Our dysfunctional healthcare system today uses a hamster-wheel model of fee-for-service primary care where patients routinely wait 4-6 weeks to see their doctor, are rushed through a 10-15 minute appointment, are then farmed out to high-cost specialists and batteries of scans and tests. Primary care physicians typically have a patient panel in excess of 2000 and are burdened with 2-3 hours of paperwork, insurance red-tape, farming billing codes, and compliance regulations for every hour they spend with a patient. It's no wonder doctors are stressed and experience high-levels of burnout.
Enter Direct Primary Care:
In a Direct Primary Care (DPC) model, there is no insurance. Doctors routinely charge a reasonable monthly or annual service fee which provides for all or most of primary care services, and patient panels are capped around a few hundred. For services such as medications or simple tests, many primary care practices can provide these services at laughably low rates. For example, Predisone for $5 or a comprehensive metabolic panel for $4.60.
The innovation in Direct Primary Care is amazingly simple: Time.
In DPC, care is returned to its roots. A conversation between doctor and patient. It's not uncommon for appointments to average an hour or longer during which a doctor can understand their patient, properly diagnose, treat, and offer an expanded array of services that you won't find in a fee-for-service primary care setting (e.g. same or next day appointments, access via phone, text, and email, behavioral and lifestyle coaching, EKGs, stress management, etc,).
It's worth noting that in this environment, DPC is known to improve provider experience and professional satisfaction, which in turn has been shown to improve the quality of care. Studies have shown DPC to reduce hospital admission (by 62%) and drastically reduce hospital readmissions (by as much as 97%). Another large study shows a 59% reduction in ER visits, 30% fewer days in the hospital, and 80% fewer surgeries.
At our healthcare summit this past July, area employers came together to hear from our Keynote, Dr. Alex Lickerman of ImagineMD discuss DPC and it's significance in solving our healthcare crisis. My favorite takeaway from his presentation: "Our main objective in DPC is providing great health care to our patients. It just so happens that by providing great care, we also save a ton of money."