COVID’s fear scared too many families from visiting their primary care doctors for illnesses and accidents. Many patients instead tried telemedicine first, to avoid in-person contact during a pandemic. Employer benefit advisors are happy that workers are now going back to see doctors because experts are hoping a new type of primary doctor can help with uncontrolled costs and unhappy patients.
Even before the Pandemic, doctors, and patients were finding each other – not via a fee-for-service transaction, but rather with – in some instances – unlimited visits for a modest monthly subscription. It’s called “Direct Primary Care”, and users are surprised to learn that 70% or more of health episodes can be resolved without having to get referred to a specialist.
This high-resolution rate comes about because DPC doctors can spend more time with patients. No incentive exists to rush the appointment, and there’s no extra cost if the patient needs a follow-up call or visit. Doctors in such arrangements know the best places to go if a referral is needed - who offers the best care, which testing center won’t overcharge, and so on.
Some DPCs even have ancillary healers on staff or have an integrative background themselves and can coach families on diet, stress reduction, or natural therapies. Some physicians are partnering with telemedicine operations to grant 24/7 connections, for continuity of care. By cutting down on specialist referrals, DPCs also save employers a ton of money. They also do a better job of keeping patients healthier and happier.
Ms. Brekke has a deep background as an actuary, underwriter, and now, a doctoral candidate in Health Policy and Management at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
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