Telemedicine is a growing trend. With a focus on cost, convenience, and access, this $30 billion industry is appealing to those who don’t have to visit their doctor for every single thing. Refills, lab orders and results, even minor conditions can be taken care of during telemedicine appointments.
Unfortunately, telemedicine is often shunned at insurance-centric doctors’ offices because insurance companies typically don’t pay doctors for telemedicine visits – a reason why you can’t get your doctor on the phone. In Direct Primary Care practices, however, telemedicine is not only routine, but encouraged for the sake of patient convenience. The following article cites five reasons why telemedicine works with Direct Primary Care (DPC):
1. Telemedicine Doesn’t Affect DPC Reimbursement
Unlike most insurance-dependent practices relying on face-to-face patient visits for all reimbursement, DPC practices charge a flat monthly fee for all services, including telemedicine. DPC patients enjoy not just office visits, but also telemedicine visits, at no additional cost.
2. DPC Doctors Aren’t Rushed
Insurance-dependent doctors are forced to see dozens of patients a day, as quickly as possible, to maximize their per-visit revenues for the practice. In stark contrast, DPC doctors are paid via monthly subscription, and there is no incentive for the DPC doctor to rush through patients. As a result, DPC providers have more time, and thus, can make time for telemedicine appointments.
3. In DPC, Patients Pay the Providers
Unlike in most practices where doctors rely on insurance and government agencies for payment, DPC practitioners are paid directly by consumers. When doctors are directly accountable to patients for good service, telemedicine becomes an attractive value-add. Patient convenience and satisfaction become more important, hallmarks of DPC practices.
4. DPC Caters to Employers
Many Direct Primary Care practices cater to employers to cut healthcare costs. Because telemedicine during business hours reduces absenteeism, employers and employees enjoy the benefits of telemedicine when their benefits plan includes DPC.
5. DPC Doctors Don’t Spend Time Coding and Filing Claims
In traditional insurance-driven practices, time is money. In DPC practices, time is opportunity to provide more care. With no external insurance forces such as coding, claims processing, and chasing deductibles, DPC doctors can spend the extra time conferring with patients on phone or video chat.
The future of telemedicine looks like something out of a science fiction movie. Soon, patients will be able to be physically examined over the Internet (this is already happening with companies like MedWand), perform blood tests and imaging using common cell phones, and be able to sync medical records with doctors remotely. As telemedicine technology advances, Direct Primary Care patients will be among the first to enjoy these conveniences.