Understanding Direct Primary Care’s Future Role in Healthcare

Jan 24, 2022

The year 2020 and the pandemic crisis it brought globally upended our lives in many ways, including healthcare. The demands and challenges of the new normal are at the peak for change, and Direct Primary Care is ushering in a much-needed healthcare revolution. 

From virtual primary care to virtual urgent care visits, we discovered that telemedicine is not only a helpful feature in some healthcare plans, but it is also essential in this digital age. 

In this article, let’s see what’s in the future of healthcare as Direct Primary Care pushes out traditional practices in place of hybrid healthcare solutions that cross socioeconomic and geographic boundaries for companies of all sizes.

What is Direct Primary Care?

Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a rapidly emerging value-based alternative to today’s dominant fee-for-service system. You pay a set monthly price ($50 to $150) for access to a medical provider and care team that handle all of your primary care needs with as many extended monthly appointments as needed, with the same doctor, at no extra costs. 

Here, same-day appointments, video calls, 24/7 phone, text, and email assistance are available when appropriate. If required, your doctor will send you to specialists and help you through surgery or procedures.  Many point of care tests are included, as are routine physicals.

Since the Direct Primary Care movement gained traction a few years ago, there are now over 1,500 Direct Care clinics all over the US. There are likely many more that have been officially labeled on the map, compared to 2014 when only less than 100 clinics were part of the movement. 

The movement’s power stems from a grassroots force of physicians who are dissatisfied with the treatment they can offer in the traditional fee-for-service paradigm of medicine. The old system relies on the patient coming in for a visit and being paid through insurance for each contact. 

The movement grew stronger as more and more physicians desired greater work-life balance, a return of joy to practicing medicine, and a revival of the pure physician-patient connection in which the doctor knows their patient well.

The Difference between Traditional Fee-For-Service Medical Practice and Direct Primary Care

As we look to the future of our healthcare system, we see the large hospital and corporate systems that hire doctors, PAs, and RNs to staff their clinics and operate their operations for profit. Doctors and other healthcare providers must visit 20 to 25 patients in 8 hours, write notes for insurance invoicing, and charge for whatever they can. An insurance company will pay more for each visit and operation, leading to larger businesses and fewer alternatives for patients.

As a result of this, Direct Primary Care has taken a different stance. Clinics are frequently owned by single doctors or, as in the case of Direct Doctors, by a small group of 2 to 3 physicians. In many situations, patients meet with doctors face-to-face. Individualized care is provided to keep patients healthy and happy. 

Doctors are motivated to improve the convenience, cost-effectiveness, and clinical relevance of care for patients, as they directly receive feedback from their patients. Instead of paying for unnecessary extras like EKGs, breathing tests, point-of-care labs, and sending patients to experts inside the system, the objective is to keep them satisfied, healthy, and recognized.

Conclusion: Direct Primary Care is the Future of Healthcare

As fee-for-service clinics become less individualized and increasingly staffed by mid-levels, DPC doctors anticipate more patients will choose the Direct Primary Care practice. However, it will not happen overnight.

In the future, there will be more companies recognizing the savings they can obtain by self-funding their insurance and joining Direct Care clinics. A healthcare system with a better mix of small offices and larger hospitals will return us to a time when patients and physicians were pleased with the treatment they received and businesses didn’t manipulate critical medical choices.

HealthSprings Direct specializes in direct primary care practice south of Atlanta. We deliver high-quality, convenient, and cutting-edge healthcare. Join the healthcare revolution—call us now!