Thursday, June 1, 2017

Direct primary care business models may be failing

An interesting article in Medical Economics may have caught your eye recently. It's titled, "Is the DPC movement at risk of failing? Direct primary care pioneers Qliance and Turntable have closed."

While many primary care providers have shifted to some type of alternative care delivery model (such as direct primary care, cash-only, or concierge medicine), these models continue to evolve and a big question lingers: are these models sustainable? 

Another question in the background is: what types of health outcomes do direct primary care (DPC) models provide?

While direct primary care and concierge care have similarities (and some may use these terms interchangeably), they are not exactly the same. 

Patients who have the means to pay for either direct primary care or concierge care may achieve higher patient satisfaction and experience scores. They may have easier access to their providers (after all, they are paying for it). And for the primary care providers who shift to a DPC model, many of them experience greater work-life balance and career satisfaction. After all, a typical patient panel under the DPC model may only include several hundred patients.

While the Internet debates the future of the DPC model, it will also be interesting to see how other alternative practice models will blend and leverage telehealth/telemedicine, machine learning and artificial intelligence, and more effective patient engagement strategies designed around wellness and prevention.

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