Have you ever had to call your traditional primary care doctor's office for a general question? It probably goes something like this:
Patient calls at 9am, and before getting a word out:
Receptionist: “Thanks for calling Slow Family Practice, please hold.”
10 minutes later: “How may I help you?”
Patient at 9:10am: “Hi, I have a question for Dr. Too Busy and was hoping to speak with him.”
Receptionist: “Let me check with his nurse to see if he’s available.”
10 minutes later: “Dr. Too Busy is currently with patients, but I can have him call you back when he’s available.”
Patient at 9:20am: “Ok, please have him do that.
Several hours later:
Nurse: “Hi this is Dr. Too Busy’s nurse returning your phone call.”
Patient at 12:30pm: “Oh hi, I had a question about a rash that I’ve had and my blood sugars today.”
Nurse: “Ok, well why don’t we schedule an appointment for you.”
Patient: “That would be fine, though Dr. Too Busy can probably help me over the phone.”
Nurse: “Well we really need to see you in the office. He has an opening 2 weeks from today!”
These interactions are very common, and the one above is probably downplaying the amount of time it takes to ask questions of your doctor. Wouldn’t it be easier if you could ask simple questions via phone/text/email/skype directly to your doctor? And if your doctor did have to see you, wouldn’t it be easier to be seen same/next day or have the ability to send a picture of a rash or do a Skype visit from your home/office?
Imagine, instead, that you and your doctor track your blood sugars daily with an app like Twine. Imagine further that you can chat on the phone with your doctor that day, or communicate via email/text to discuss symptoms and come up with a treatment plan. At Direct Doctors, and other Direct Primary Care practices, this is the reality. While there are many reasons we do need to see patients in the office, we are happy to use 21st century technology to make things more efficient and effective. We also prefer to keep track of our patients issues in real time and to be available and accessible, rather than patients waiting weeks to get answers and changes to their treatment plans.
If this sounds like the primary care experience you’d prefer, feel free to reach out via our website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages!
Lauren Hedde, DO and Mark Turshen, MD are Family Physicians and Founders of Direct Doctors, Inc. a Direct Primary Care Practice.