The Way Medicine Should Be
Remember when the doctor used to look you in the eyes instead of staring at a computer screen? When you could call and get in to see your doctor that same day? If you are able to call and speak directly to your doctor, you are lucky. If your doctor spends more than 10 minutes with you in the office, you are lucky. More and more these days, medicine and healthcare has become like a corporation and seeing high volumes of patients at record speeds has become the norm. Because healthcare relies on third party payers, like insurance companies, going to the doctor is now more like an assembly line. Doctors are incentivized to see more and more patients to cover overhead costs, like the office staff and coders and billers. Gone are the days where the primary focus is on the doctor-patient relationship to the relationship. These days patients are less likely to visit the same doctor on a regular basis, and more often than not they end up seeing the Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant. Same day appointments are not always available, so patients are relying on walk in clinics and the ER for their acute and chronic medical needs because their own doctor does not have time to see them. The more volume doctors see, the longer the wait is in many waiting rooms and the more frustrating the process becomes. Healthcare and navigating the system is confusing enough without all of these hurdles and barriers.
Many patients and physicians alike are unhappy with this model and the way healthcare has changed, and are turning more and more to DPC (or Direct Primary Care) models of care. With DPC, the focus returns to the doctor-patient relationship and the third party payers are excluded from the equation. For a reasonable monthly fee, the patient has direct access to their own personal doctor and can make a same day appointment if needed. Office visits are unlimited and without a copay, and many practices, like Coastal Maine Direct Care, include home visits. Gone are lengthy waiting room times. Instead, the structure is designed with low volumes of patients so that that patient comes right in to see the doctor without waiting, spending as much time as he or she needs with his or her own personal doctor. And if the patient has a specific question or is not sure if he or she even needs to come in, the patient can call, text, or email directly to the doctor to ask any and all of these questions.
Isn't this the way medicine should be?