Welcome to my Very First Blog Post!
I’m Dr. Lori Brown, founder and owner of Simplicity Direct Primary Care. I want to use this blog to share fun recipes that I enjoy making for my family, to give tips on staying healthy and to explain my take on some confusing topics (like…are eggs really high in cholesterol?), but first let me explain why I made a big change in March 2020 when I left corporate medicine to work for myself.
Someone asked me if I wanted my kids to go into medicine and my response was a resounding “Hell no!” I want my kids to love their jobs. I realized then that I had lost all joy in practicing medicine and that was in large part because employed doctors have lost all autonomy. I wasn’t practicing medicine the way I wanted or the way my patients needed and I had no say in it.
‘See more patients faster’ is the corporate medicine motto. I hated it and to be honest, wasn’t good at it. I spend a lot of time with my patients because they need time to talk and be heard. One of my favorite attendings in residency always said “Listen to the patient. The story that they tell will often lead you to the diagnosis.”
In a traditional medical practice, each physician often has 2,500 or more patients that he/she is responsible for. That’s a whole lotta people to care for. This is why you can’t get in for an appointment when you’re actually sick or get a return phone call from your physician within a reasonable timeframe. Appointments are scheduled every 15-30 min which is why you feel rushed and don’t get through that whole list of questions. And then doctors fall behind when we take our time, leaving other patients waiting in the lobby. It’s a vicious cycle.
And think about your last visit to your PCP’s office. Was it with YOUR PHYSICIAN? Did you feel that he/she reviewed your chart ahead of time and knew your medical history well? Or did you feel like an animal being herded through a cattle chute? Did he/she make eye contact or were they tapping on the keyboard desperately trying to document your visit in real-time?
One study Sinsky 2016 found that “physicians spent 27.0% of their total time on direct clinical face time with patients and 49.2% of their time on EHR and desk work. While in the examination room with patients, physicians spent 52.9% of the time on direct clinical face time and 37.0% on EHR and desk work. In addition, outside of office hours, physicians spend another 1 to 2 hours of personal time each night doing additional computer and other clerical work.” Personally, I tried to be engaged with my patients during their appointments, but that meant I spent hours in the evenings and on weekends catching up on charting. I was missing out on quality time with my family. This was unacceptable.
I’ve also been a patient trying to navigate our broken healthcare system. The experience was not pleasant but rather…frustrating, exhausting and a waste of my time.
For all the above reasons and more, I decided to open a direct primary care practice (DPC). What does DPC mean exactly? It means that patients pay me a monthly fee for high quality, personalized care. You’re sick? I’ll see you the same or next day. You need a medication refill? Email me. You have seven different issues (diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, asthma, afib, depression, hypothyroid) that all need addressed? I’ll give you an hour appointment or see you weekly if needed. You have another bladder infection? Call me. Can’t afford your meds? I can get many at near whole sale prices and have them mailed directly to you. Bloodwork too expensive? I can get your yearly labs for under $20.
Additionally, I personally answer the phone, text or email. I see every patient every time. You will not be treated like a number. And the best part is insurance companies are not allowed to interfere because I don’t have any agreements with them. My agreement is with my patient only.
So you’re thinking…but I already have insurance and now I have to pay more for your membership? You’re paying for exceptional care with incredible access to your personal physician. And oftentimes, the savings my practice can offer (on prescriptions, imaging studies and labs) will exceed the cost of the membership.
Here’s something else to consider. In 2017, the average ER visit cost was $1,389
(https://healthcostinstitute.org/in-the-news/usa-today). The cost of a ONE YEAR membership at Simplicity DPC for someone over 50 years old is $1,140 (even less for those younger). If I can prevent you from going to the ER once over the course of a year, then your membership paid for itself. How can I do this? Because you’ll have ACCESS to me. You can reach me when you’re sick for early intervention if necessary, hopefully avoiding urgent care or the ER. Also, our goal is to attain health through prevention. You will see me throughout the year to make sure we’re meeting those goals- not just when you’re feeling sick. For example, I want to prevent heart disease by controlling your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels through regular check ups either in person or via phone/video calls. There’s no additional fees for that- it’s all part of the membership.
And did I mention that all pricing is completely transparent? You will know the cost of everything upfront. You will not be sent a confusing medical bill three months after your visit.
If this sounds like the physician-patient relationship you want, then join my practice at Simplicity Direct Primary Care. Sign-up here.