Direct Doctors will be celebrating our 7 year anniversary this August! Over that time, we’ve come to really appreciate the direct primary care model that we are using to deliver efficient, evidence based and personal care to our almost 1,000 patients. Like many of the other DPC practices across the country, we’ve noticed many benefits (for both the patient and physician), while also discovering a few barriers.
We’ve highlighted the positives of the DPC model for many years right here in this blog. First and foremost, the ability for our patients to have direct access to us and the improved relationship that affords is the biggest benefit. There are no phone trees, no other staff in between the doctor and the patient and no waiting weeks for an answer to a simple question.
Because we are beholden only to our patients, much of the administrative burden is lifted. Sure, there’s the occasional paperwork, but we certainly don’t need to spend 50% of our time writing notes, so a healthcare company can get paid by an insurance company! Much more of our time is dedicated to clinical medicine, which saves patients money.
We’re also able to make our own schedule without the confines of large bureaucratic healthcare organization constraints. We can see patients when they need to be seen and can also adjust our schedule to accommodate any personal or family needs.
There are some hurdles to overcome when starting a practice like ours. After taking on debt to go to school and finish training, the prospect of starting a practice from scratch with a beginning salary of $0 can be quite daunting! There’s also the feeling of professional isolation, especially in Rhode Island, where we were the first direct primary care practice. Between not having many resources locally and having some colleagues not approve of your decision to “leave the system,” direct primary care physicians can certainly feel like they’re on an island… but we didn’t mind. Now, having 400-600 patients who can contact you directly 24/7 can be a little overwhelming. Over these years, we’ve learned to find the right patient mix, set boundaries and find some time to unplug throughout the year. We now have 3 physicians who can cover for each other.
At Direct Doctors, we’ve been very lucky. We have found great patients who value our time, expertise and resolve to start and maintain a practice that is best for our patients. We value the relationships we’ve been able to establish with our patients, consulting physicians and other medical providers in our mini wellness center in East Greenwich. Through it all, the goal to provide affordable, efficient, valuable primary care to our patients remains at the forefront… and we think we’re succeeding! To see how we practice primary care differently, please check us out at www.directdoctors.org.
Lauren Hedde, DO; James Hedde, DO and Mark Turshen, MD are Family Physicians and Co- Founders of Direct Doctors, Inc. a Direct Primary Care Practice.