What Is Direct Primary Care?
The direct primary care (DPC) model has grown in popularity in recent years as a primary care alternative payment model that allows for more personalized contact between patient and physician. With the promise of a strong, long-lasting, and personalized health care experience, it is no surprise that DPC is being embraced by patients, physicians, and payer systems nationwide.
The primary objectives of DPC are to achieve superior health care outcomes, provide an elevated patient experience, and lower the cost of care. The unique DPC model address these objectives by making patients an active participant in choosing and working with their provider, eliminating fee-for-service incentives in traditional primary care, and increasing time spent and trust built between patient and physician.
When a patient has the power to choose their own physician, they become and equal and active partner in their health care. Through DPC, patients have the power to be involved in their medical choices, including financing and availability of resources. DPC uses a flat monthly fee, which eliminates fee-for-service that may distort treatment decision-making by incentivizing extra tests and services. DPC providers have a fee that is adequate to appropriately accommodate patient needs without yielding to other financial motivations that could skew the doctor-patient trust and relationship.
Increased time between patient and physician not only helps to build a trusting and enduring relationship, it also emphasizes long-term health and well-being, with the physician an engaged advocate for the patient inside and outside of primary care. DPC providers are prepared to support patients with needs outside of primary care, with the ability to make informed referrals and provide information about the quality and cost of care. The DPC emphasis on service and ready access shows a commitment to responsive, minimally invasive, and affordable patient-centered care.