So let’s say you’re young and relatively healthy. You can’t remember the last time you went to a doctor for anything. You are not on any prescription medications and do not require many routine screenings at your age. You also have a busy career that makes the slog of a traditionally inefficient practice impossible to deal with but cannot imagine paying a monthly fee for a Direct Primary Care Practice… why would you do that?
Well I can think of a few reasons, actually. I bet if you think back over the past couple of years, something came up at one point that required a visit to a doctor. You probably went to an urgent care or ER since you had no established primary care doctor. It may have been for a laceration that needed a few stitches, or an ankle sprain while playing sports on the weekend, or a bad cold that you just could not shake at home and needed to be seen. All of these things can easily be handled by a primary care doc who is easily accessible and can see you that day. Without that access however, many patients have no choice but to visit a much more costly health care setting and spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on a one time visit fee. For this same cost, you can get several months to a year of direct access to your personal doctor. Many of our younger patients have high deductible plans. So even if they do not utilize our services frequently, they often save money by avoiding expensive health care costs.
Then there’s the benefit of having a doctor who knows you well and can follow your medical needs over many years to help you maintain your health. While there may not be many routine screenings necessary in the younger population, we think that having a physician who knows you well and in whom you trust is vitally important as patients age. One of the hardest parts of primary care, and the thing that patients struggle the most with, is getting folks motivated to make changes that benefit their health. Maybe it’s working on a nutrition and exercise plan and having someone track your progress through an app like Twine, or discussing the multiple options for colon cancer screening when patients decline a colonoscopy. If you do not have a doctor, or have a doctor you see once a year and otherwise have no contact, personal relationship with or trust in, these things are very hard to overcome. Many patients end up not getting the necessary screenings or making the necessary life changes when they do not have someone they trust to help them through the process.
While we have many chronically ill and complicated patients, we have a large number of younger healthy patients that may only contact us once or twice a year. However, they like knowing that when they need something, they can contact us directly. And when they contact their doctor, they are contacting someone that knows their history well, has time to discuss their issues extensively and will be there to see them through whatever they are going through. So the next time you’re thinking you’d like to experience a more personal, efficient style of primary care but are not sure why you’d pay a monthly fee, check out our website and affordable pricing to see how we practice primary care differently.
Lauren Hedde, DO and Mark Turshen, MD are Family Physicians and Founders of Direct Doctors, Inc. a Direct Primary Care Practice.