In today’s healthcare environment, primary care providers are stretched thin. Often they must sacrifice time spent with patients to accommodate a heavy patient load. When that happens, they aren’t able to deliver the kind of quality care that motivated them to practice in the first place.
In a recent article, “Some Family Doctors Ditch Insurance for Simpler Approach,” the Washington Post examines how these challenges drive some providers to move away from the traditional healthcare model in favor of care models that solve their frustrations about limited time with patients. One of these options is direct primary care.
Direct primary care bills patients a monthly fee that may cover office visits, phone calls, emails, texts, and certain medical procedures and tests.
The appeal of direct primary care for providers
While direct primary care is one potential solution for providers to have more time with patients, healthcare researchers question whether the model will be able to deliver meaningful health outcomes at the individual and community level.
In contrast, the advanced primary care model flips the current standard of healthcare, starting with what’s most important to patient health: time and understanding. Providers have the time they need to form trust with their patients. Empathetic listening helps them to understand not just their patients' physical health needs, but the mental, financial, and social determinants affecting them.
By providing most of the care a patient needs — including risk identification through informatics, extended care teams, and health coaching — advanced primary care improves medical efficiency. It delivers aligned incentives that drive down costs through better health, like optimized utilization and quality of care over quantity of patients.
When providers love their work, members thrive
When providers have the time to form deep relationships with members, it builds the trust that helps members become empowered to take ownership of their own health. Members know they matter. The result? Improved engagement and better health outcomes. And, because members are more likely to seek regular care, and avoid costly care like emergency room and urgent care visits, total cost of care declines.
Practicing medicine the the way it was intended
At Vera, advanced primary care encompasses a whole network of services. Care centers are a vehicle for delivering those services, centralizing healthcare for patients where they receive the majority of consultation, treatment, and follow-up they need at one convenient location from one dedicated primary care team. Vera CEO Ryan Schmid reflects on Vera’s unique model of care: “We think of whole health as social, mental, and physical well-being. Unless you build a care model that’s designed to treat the whole person as opposed to a physical disease or infirmity, it’s really not advanced primary care.”