We hope over the past few years we’ve made a good case about why Direct Primary Care practices like Direct Doctors are good for patients. But, we felt it worth mentioning...DPC is great for Docs too!
If you’re a patient looking for a doctor, you may say, “Why do I care if this is better for doctors?” Well, you should care and I will explain why! Do you know that nearly 50% of primary care physicians are experiencing “burnout” - meaning they feel overwhelmed, overworked, or underappreciated in their jobs? What does burnout lead to? It means your doctor might be retiring early, his care might be sub-par, or he might be cutting back on his hours.
What is causing doctors - who have worked so hard for so many years and amassed a mountain of debt to do what they do - to feel like they are ready to cut back or leave the profession? The major reasons for burnout are related to the requirement that a typical PCP see 20-25 patients per day at the office (which not only includes seeing those patients, but refilling prescriptions, returning calls, and filling out paperwork). Each patient requires a full note about them, which alone can take 5-10 minutes to complete (and these days requires the checking off of multiple boxes about whether smoking cessation counseling was done, weight management was discussed, etc. etc. so that insurance companies and corporations can better “track” physician efforts). The typical physician, working an 8-9 hour day, spends 1-2 hours after work completing notes and paperwork.
Now, imagine you are that physician, working 4 to 5 8-9 hour days per week, driving 30 minutes to work each way, spending an hour or two at night on the couch writing notes - oh, and also, spending 7-10 minutes on average with each patient you see per day. Your love of medicine starts to fade because you went into it to help patients and now all you have time for in a visit is to refer your patient to someone else and to order some tests or prescriptions that you know may not be necessary or “the best” solution, but you feel you need to offer something concrete to your patient, so you trudge along doing the best you can with what you’ve got!
If someone suggested that you could improve your burnout by exercising, meditating, and counseling, you might try those things or you might feel frustrated that on top of your busy schedule a corporate executive thinks what you really need to do is work harder at working harder and carve more time out of your family/home life to reduce your work-related burnout.
But now, in steps Direct Primary Care. While there are financial risks in starting your own business, a DPC physician can be his own boss. He can stop fighting with insurance companies and corporate officers. He can stop seeing 25 patients per day. He can start spending as much time with each patient as he or she needs. He can call, text, and email his patients easily within his day at the office. And, he can cut out a huge percentage of paperwork. While he may take a while to recoup the same salary, he most certainly will very quickly feel less burnout. And when your doctor feels happy, healthy, and motivated to do his job, you, as his patient, can feel that!
If you’re interested in what it’s like seeing a DPC doctor with lots of time for your needs, where you won’t feel rushed or unheard, and you won’t feel shepherded off to specialists, check out how we do things differently at www.directdoctors.org. And remember, a happy & healthy doctor can make all the difference!
Lauren Hedde, DO and Mark Turshen, MD are Family Physicians and Founders of Direct Doctors, Inc. a Direct Primary Care Practice.