What are some pitfalls of Direct Primary Care (DPC)?
Direct Primary Care (DPC) offers a seemingly perfect solution for physicians and patients; however, it is not perfect. As such, Direct Primary Care (DPC) comes with some unique challenges.
- You are entering new territory and a model of care that will require spending time to educate your community, your colleagues and potential patients about what Direct Primary Care (DPC) is, what is offers and the inherent value of this model can not only be time consuming, but also challenging.
- Starting any business has its challenges, but when you are starting and building a model of care which directly threatens the current model, you may be faced with contrarians and opposers who may propagate their assumptions about what Direct Primary Care (DPC) is. This can make growth difficult initially, that is, until you prove them wrong which you will do.
- You will be taking home what you kill. You need to prepare for and accept the risk of less income initially. You may need to supplement your income in other venues such as Urgent Care Clinics, Emergency Departments, etc as your practice grows.
- “Jungle Medicine”. While this is an exciting facet of Direct Primary Care (DPC), it can also be very nerve-wracking as you may have to find “hacks” to help save patients money or even venture into areas of medicine which you hadn’t fully considered such as performing your own venipuncture, scheduling your own patients, answering your own phone calls, re-learning procedures you may not have done in awhile.
- While enhancing the personal relationship with patients, you’ll need to keep your boundaries clear. Some patients may overestimate their relationship with you or grow to feel entitled with the care and attention they receive from you. Setting clear boundaries early on in the patient-physician relationship are highly recommended.
- Specific patient populations may pose certain challenges. “Low utilizers” may not find value in monthly membership for a service they don’t regularly use. “High utilizers” may have a false sense of entitlement of what you “should” be providing to them. Other patients may overestimate their relationship with you assuming that, in addition to being their physician, you are also their “friend”. Emphasizing accessibility may be helpful in garnering an on-going membership with “low utilizers” while balancing the expectations of what (and when) services are provided may ward off entitlement. Setting appropriate boundaries with all patients will preserve a healthy, professional patient-physician relationship.
This article was originally created by a group of volunteer writers in September 2019. It may have been subsequently edited.