If you haven’t yet stumbled upon the musings of Rob Lamberts, MD, now might be a good time to start reading.
A little over a year ago, Rob re-imagined his practice, adopting the direct primary care model, with the goal of providing better care at lower cost in a way that patient and doctor alike would find sustainable. Since then, he has emerged as a thought leader not just in the area of subscription based medical practice, but in topics that span the field of health care. Also the occasional limerick.
For those that struggle to understand the benefits of the direct primary care model, Rob’s musings are crucial. For example, his article “The Doctor Returns Bearing Data“, provides evidence that his practice is accomplishing the goals he set out to achieve. The evidence is anecdotal, so this is not a hugely scientific study, but it does specifically illustrate a handful of examples of patients saving money, and how much.
Underneath the numbers there’s another theme that emerges from Rob’s post, which I find even more compelling. In the cases Rob describes, it’s not just that the subscription model is saving patients money, it’s Rob himself, making phone calls, researching options, and negotiating on his patient’s behalf. See this short case study for example:
“History of migraines, better with Topamax as a prophylactic drug. Can’t take it due to monthly cost. I found a cheaper cost, but then the price went up dramatically. Pt came to me saying they had to stop the medication, as it was costing more than $120 per month. I personally called pharmacy, who said that the cost for them was high, but then noted another local pharmacy had it on their $4 drug list and that they would match anyone’s price. I passed this on to the patient.
In my old office would have required payment for an office visit to talk to me about this, and would not likely have had time to research the cheaper price.
Cost: $4 per month.
Cost Savings: $116 per month and significantly improving quality of life.”
Calling the pharmacy seems like a small enough act. Nothing any doctor couldn’t do, right? Well, it depends. If a doctor’s schedule is overloaded, they might not have the time or mental capacity left at the end of the day to think to take that extra step.
The ability to see fewer patients that the direct primary care model affords is not just a luxury for the doctors who have adopted this model. It’s a way to keep our compassion intact. It’s a way to make sure that even the simplest needs of patients are not overlooked. All of these point to a better practice, a more efficient practice, and ultimately a healthier patient.
So thank you, Rob, for leading the charge in this primary care revolution. We’re glad to be joining you in the fight.