The Direct Primary Care Journal (DPC Journal) Releases 2017-2018 Annual Report

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Highlights industry trends and efforts in the Direct Primary Care (DPC) market space.

The Direct Primary Care Journal (DPC Journal) today released its 2017-2018 Annual Report and Market Trends Analysis that highlights industry trends and efforts in the Direct Primary Care (DPC) market space. It features a 2017 Prospective Patient Survey containing the results of more than 1,100 active/real-time patients seeking DPC providers across the U.S., blends polling data trends and graphics, and emphasizes the work of the Physicians whose roles are central to the tenets of DPC to ensure financial stability and growth in the years ahead.

"2017 was a strong year for DPC, but it was also a hard one," said Michael Tetreault, Editor of The DPC Journal. "Three significant DPC closures in the space took place. The media and medical contributors took this opportunity to call into question the scalability, viability and long-term feasibility of this monthly subscription-based healthcare business model. It was a year of reflection and rebuilding. In 2018, there are clear indications of DPC's future path to effectively scale and collaborate with more employers in the future. However, the pathway to achieve such success is not yet clear."

In the first quarter of 2018, we have received encouraging signals about employer data from three "DPC2B" partnerships. DPC also demonstrated remarkable rural growth in 2017 by Physician Assistants starting their own subscription-based medicine programs in certain markets. In 2017, we saw positive reductions in wait-times by more than 10-minutes per patient, per visit, use of robust telemedicine platforms to communicate more securely with Patients and increases in monthly membership fees between $20-$50/pmpm. Consumer awareness about the program(s) offered is moderately on the rise as is curiosity on how HSAs will play a role in subscription fees in the future.

The DPC Journal is optimistic that the underground swell of more cash-only, subscription-based healthcare clinics, similar to the monthly Netflix model, will continue to rise to the surface in 2018. Highlights from the Report include:

  • We are following a national trend where younger DPC physicians are entering and few appear to be exiting the space in suburban markets.
  • Approximately 68% of new DPC physicians state they are between the ages of 30-49.
  • 23% of DPC Journal polling respondents indicated that they will not join another network.
  • The average wait time at a DPC practice is less than 10-minutes.
  • 16% hope DPC Doctors can work/partner with more businesses to save healthcare costs for employees in their local area.
  • 15% hope HSA and FSA integration will occur.
  • 47% of Physicians reported that they went into debt to start their DPC medical practice.
  • The DPC Journal finds that 41% of practices are female DPC Doctor-owned clinics under the age of 49. Conversely, 36% stated they are male DPC Doctor-owned practices and under the age of 49.
  • Nearly 10% of DPC Physician polling respondents stated that they believe some DPC clinics today won't be able to stay in operation due to lack of local consumer interest. The DPC Journal also found that closures of DPC clinics are not being closely monitored nor reported.
  • Less than 18% of DPC Physician stated they believe DPC should be defined by price. A majority of Physicians believe price shouldn't matter and that the Doctor's service offering/membership fee should be based upon the services offered, level of education, demographics, etc.
  • In 2017, we saw subscription fee increases in monthly memberships rise by an additional $20-$50/pmpm. In 2018, nearly 8/10 monthly DPC subscription fees are now trending between $51-$99/pmpm.

The DPC Journal surveyed over 1,100 actively seeking patients from across the U.S. in 2017 and asked them about their overall 'faith' in a Physician in today's healthcare marketplace. Nearly 60% of those participants surveyed said 'If DPC was not an option, they would NOT select an M.D. for their next primary care visit. 34% said they would prefer to see a Doctor of Osteopathic (D.O.) Medicine; 14% would prefer to see a Nurse Practitioner (N.P.) and 7% would prefer to see a Physicians Assistant (P.A.).

"We never see a Doctor's office on America's Best Places to Work. Not surprisingly, the people around us have lost faith in their local Doctor," said Tetreault. "They've simply had too many bad experiences. While the human spirit is willing to forgive, Patients remember what visiting a Doctor's office is like. They want a change and they will find someone who can spend time with them when their Physician won't. We took our survey a step further in January of 2018 and began to ask prospective patients seeking care from a subscription-based healthcare provider [DPC, Concierge and the like] across the U.S. to choose 'Cost' or 'Convenience' over 'Friendship' with a Doctor they know, like and can trust. Early findings from this survey are telling us that 62% of people want and would choose … 'Friendship with a Physician they can get to know, like and want to trust!' over 'Cost' or 'Convenience.'

The report also highlights key trends, including patient recruitment, electoral voting patterns, pricing patterns and more.

About The Direct Primary Care Journal (The DPC Journal)

The Direct Primary Care Journal (The DPC Journal) is an independent trade journal and online news reporting publication observing, reporting and connecting with experts from all facets of the DPC industry. The DPC Journal was created in order to fill an information void found when reporting, interviewing and researching direct primary care, direct-pay medicine and cash-only practices across the U.S. To learn more, visit: http://www.DirectPrimaryCare.com.

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Michael Tetreault
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