Direct Primary Care is a healthcare model that supports the physician-patient relationship. This is a new name and new movement, but the idea is traditional. The DPC model resembles how medicine was practiced generations ago.
Primary Care is also referred to as family medicine, or general practice. A primary care physician (or PCP) cares for patients from birth until death and throughout life’s challenges. A PCP is generally your first contact when you require medical care outside of a hospital. On average, primary care will be approximately 80-90% of your lifetime healthcare needs.
The word “direct” in direct primary care means that the layers of our current healthcare system are removed. In DPC practices, patients have direct contact with their doctor through appointments, texts, e-mails, phone calls, video appointments, etc. There is no confusing phone tree and there are generally few if any additional employees in the practice. Communication is direct and care is direct.
One additional obstacle to care that is removed in a DPC practice is insurance and unpredictable bills. Primary Care is not expensive, yet it has become expensive since insurance has been involved. Removing insurance allows cost to become affordable, transparent and predictable. Because care is continuous in a DPC model through visits, messages, e-mails, etc, DPC services are billed as a monthly membership and the patient then receives access to care as needed.
DPC providers limit the number of patients per provider panel so each patient can receive the time and attention needed. Appointments are longer and patients can address more than one issue per visit. Also, because patients can choose the appointment length, wait times are minimal to nonexistent.
Here is a link to a map of all DPC docs in the United States.