Direct primary care (DPC) is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing employee benefit strategies adopted by employers across the U.S. According to the Direct Primary Care Coalition, there are over 1,200 DPC practices nationwide offering care to over 300,000 Americans through their employer, with new practices launching every year. This emerging healthcare solution enables employers who offer DPC to provide a personalized primary care experience to their employees while significantly reducing health plan costs and boosting productivity; but that’s not all. Here, we discuss a few of the driving factors behind direct primary care’s success as a national healthcare movement.
The current state of primary care leaves much to be desired when it comes to patient experience and satisfaction. Studies show that there has been a sharp decline in the last decade of U.S. adults visiting primary care providers, whether healthy or sick. Why is that? Although it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what’s behind this decline, evidence points to rising out-of-pocket healthcare costs, long wait times, and patient confusion around billing and insurance.
Direct primary care solves for all of these barriers that traditional primary care models have created. DPC is a model of primary care delivery that operates independent from insurance. This eliminates co-pays so that your employees are encouraged to seek the care they need when they need it with no additional out-of-pocket costs. Additionally, DPC patient panels are typically one-third to one-fourth less the size than that of a traditional primary care provider; meaning patients have more time with their doctor to ask questions and focus on building a plan with their physician to manage their health and wellness.
Direct primary care not only benefits individual patients, it also has incredible benefits for physicians who adopt and practice this model. Research has shown that doctors who practice DPC have improved levels of physician satisfaction through patient engagement as well as increased time to develop personal patient relationships and improve the quality of care they provide.
Additionally, DPC models can reduce the administrative burden so many physicians face. As mentioned, DPC operates free of the confines of traditional primary care and insurance relieving physicians from ancillary primary care functions like billing, insurance filing, and collection that can lead to physician burnout. Operating in a DPC capacity gives doctors the time and resources they need to return to their focus to what matters – their patients.
Patients and doctors alike are beginning to recognize that DPC is one of the fastest-growing alternatives to traditional healthcare delivery, but are employers taking notice? In short, they are. As employers continue to absorb annual health insurance increases while simultaneously seeking to improve employee health, many are pushed to seek a more sustainable strategy with regard to their organization’s health plan. Direct primary care is often a popular consideration among those employers due to its significant cost-saving benefits. By providing employees convenient and direct access to primary care, organizations that have adopted DPC report significant reductions in both specialist and emergency room visits among their employees, resulting in immediate plan savings. Another key feature of DPC are the referrals physicians can provide to steer employees to high-value in-network facilities that help keep claims costs to a minimum. Check out this case study that illustrates the cost impact of DPC and how it helped one Healthgram client achieve 46% lower PEPY healthcare costs than the national average.
Direct primary care has become a powerful solution to address the shortcomings that exist within the traditional primary care model. More and more employers are discovering that direct primary care aligns with top benefit strategies like promoting employee health and lowering health plan costs; all while operating independently of existing insurance plans.
Learn more about our direct primary care solution and how your employees can experience the personalized care they deserve while improving your bottom line.