As of 2019, 365 physicians commit suicide annually. More than 40% of primary care physicians’ time, by some estimates, is taken up with non-clinical activities. Burn out is an oft-discussed phenomenon. Put simply: current healthcare constructs fail to provide a therapeutic environment for the patient and physician and, most importantly, for the physician-patient relationship.
Direct primary care is an evolving healthcare delivery model that began in the early 2000s. Patients pay a flat fixed monthly fee directly to their physician. In turn, the physician benefits from a simplified business model, a more transparent relationship with patients, reduced insurance-based administrative demands and, in many instances, small-business ownership and autonomy.
At this time, most use the definition put forth by Eskew et al in 2015:
“a DPC practice must be a primary care practice that (1) charges a periodic fee for services, (2) does not bill any third parties on a fee-for-service basis, and (3) any per-visit charges are less than the monthly equivalent of the periodic fee.”
The chasm between being an employed physician and going out on your own to open your own small medical practice can seem exceptionally vast. However, many physicians are returning to solo or small group independent practice and they are sharing their experiences. Direct primary care restores physician autonomy, affords the same and next day access and is empowering primary care physicians to remain inspired and empowered. Considerations for your own DPC journey along with the basics of starting a practice are discussed in the detailed DPCA “Starting A Practice” section.
This article was originally created by a group of volunteer writers in September 2019. It may have been subsequently edited.