As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, it brought to light the importance of reliable healthcare. It also highlighted a few shortcomings in the industry. Now, more and more people are looking to change how they access care and protect their health. One growing method of accomplishing this is by enhancing the doctor-patient relationship through either direct primary care or concierge medicine.
Although there are key differences involved, the goal of each is essentially the same: offering patients faster, easier access to physicians through membership-based healthcare. Below, we’ll explore how these two models deviate from traditional primary care, the benefits they bring in our post-COVID-19 world and the differences between direct primary care vs. concierge medicine.
Out With the Old and In With the New
With the traditional primary care system — which many view to be broken — doctors must see thousands of patients to get a sufficient number of insurance reimbursements. Otherwise, they could not afford to run a successful business. It’s because of this high demand and other limitations that patients wait long periods for appointments and only have short windows to actually talk with the doctor during said visits.
Both direct primary care (DPC) and concierge medicine differ from this traditional system. How so? By participating in these healthcare models, independent practices are able to limit the number of patients a doctor has which increases availability and, therefore, patient access. Plus, as there is additional time for each patient visit, quality of care is more comprehensive.
To facilitate such modifications, patients are charged a membership fee. These fees may be charged monthly, quarterly or annually depending on the practice. As the fees provide consistent revenue, they free up time previously expended on coding and billing while lowering administrative overhead costs.
Other benefits accompanying this more direct financial relationship with patients include:
A Stronger Focus on Improving Long-Term Health
Although there are vaccines and effective treatments available, the COVID virus is expected to linger on. Because of this threat and others like it, it’s essential take steps to support long-term health and improve the immune system. With concierge medicine and DPC, doctors can provide patients with a more personalized, preventive care regime to do just that.
Partnering with a physician outside of the primary care system not only gives the patient someone to trust, but also to rely on in uncertain times, such as during a global pandemic. Having a relationship with a doctor who understands patients on a personal level and is familiar with their health histories can also be instrumental in improving overall health outcomes.
Another benefit is the peace of mind that comes with direct communication and same-day appointment scheduling. No matter the time or day, patients can reach their physicians and utilize their expertise to make an informed decision. Having such 24/7 access in an emergency can make all the difference for patients and their families.
DPC vs. Concierge
Now that you’ve read how they are similar, it’s important to know the difference between direct primary care and concierge medicine. One key distinction is that concierge may still accept health insurance and government programs for certain procedures while there is no insurance, service fees or third-party billing with DPC as it relies solely on patient fees.
The fees also differ with concierge typically costing more than DPC. Lastly, although it depends on the practice, DPC doctors are not as likely to offer 24/7 access or conduct home visits like most concierge doctors.
Learn More About the Difference Concierge Medicine Can Make
At Specialdocs Consultants, we specialize in transitioning traditional medical practices into individually designed concierge medicine models. Our mission is to support physicians and their patients as they make the change to this more patient-focused and high-quality medical care model of the future.