• Ashley Poynter

What's the deal with telemedicine?

Virtual Direct Primary Care (DPC) is quickly becoming a popular way to augment traditional health care. Patients have busy lives, preferred providers are not always close by, and health care needs can be unpredictable. By enabling providers to distribute care virtually, patients get access to improved health care when they need it most. While telemedicine is not new, the term virtual DPC may be to some people. We explore what these things mean as well as the benefits they yield for both doctors and patients alike.


First, what is Direct Primary Care (DPC)?

Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a movement happening within healthcare to reclaim the focus on the doctor-patient relationship. Primary care providers now offer health plans to patients and their families that are based on a flat monthly fee. These plans gives these patients unlimited access to care at a reasonable rate, providing a value-based alternative to the fee-for-service model that has come to rule healthcare today.


Instead of being beholden to insurance companies, which require significant time spent on paperwork and bureaucratic red tape, doctors are beholden to their patients and providing the best care possible. By paying a monthly fee, the insurance middlemen are removed from the equation, negating the need to deal with claims and the accompanying paperwork. Instead, doctors focus their time and energy on their patients and providing high-quality health care.


At Decent, we’ve wrapped this into our health insurance plans, so you don’t have to worry about any fees at all. Both our Pathfinder and Trailblazer plans include free primary care. When you need to see the doctor, you get to see the doctor. For $0.


Now, what is this about telemedicine?

Glad you asked! Telemedicine (and telehealth) is the use of electronic systems and telecommunication technologies to enable the distribution of health services. Basically, it allows doctors and patients to connect remotely and enable care, monitoring, intervention, and advice. We truly live in the digital age. With almost everything available via remote channels, why not healthcare, too? While it might come across as a little scandalous (how can a doctor treat a patient that’s not right in front of him/her?), telemedicine actually promotes more good outcomes. According to one study, patients that engage with telemedicine had:


  • 38% fewer hospital admissions

  • 31% fewer hospital readmissions

  • 63% greater likelihood of spending fewer days in the hospital

  • Greater engagement in their healthcare


There are actually quite a few benefits to telemedicine. Let’s have a look.

Telemedicine:

  • Improves access to care - distance can be an obstacle for some patients, but telemedicine knocks down geographic barriers to health care.

  • Can reduce costs - telemedicine can help patients save money (in some cases, more than $1,500) by diverting them away from more expensive care settings like emergency rooms.

  • Enhances in-person health care - The doctor-patient relationship is the center of healthcare, and telemedicine helps to support traditional care with the added flexibility and convenience of a remote option.

  • Boosts patient satisfaction - given the ease and convenience of telemedicine, people have an easier time staying healthy and enjoying real-time care.

  • Boosts provider satisfaction - telemedicine also improves doctor satisfaction by making it easier to help patients while balancing work and home life.


Virtual DPC - a step beyond telemedicine

It’s obvious that telemedicine has its benefits. While virtual DPC espouses those same positive elements, it also takes things a step further. While telemedicine largely describes the mode by which care is provided (video, audio, SMS, etc.), virtual DPC is more specific in highlighting the breadth of care provided. Telemedicine enables technology to bridge the distance gap between doctor and patient, while virtual DPC speaks to the care available to patients remotely. This includes treatment of medical conditions, addressing patient concerns, diagnosing conditions, following up on an in-person visit, monitoring vitals post-surgery, providing clarity or answering questions on a treatment plan, providing medical advice, walking through exercises or other at-home treatments, and recommending local providers for more serious conditions.


The benefits of virtual DPC include all of those mentioned related to telemedicine, but also:


  • 24/7 access to your trusted primary care physician - while some telemedicine services connect you to any doctor, with virtual DPC, you are able to connect at any time with your trusted physician.

  • Low-cost, high-quality care - telemedicine can help patients avoid the emergency room in unnecessary circumstances without sacrificing the quality of care received virtually, since the patient will be connected with their own doctor.

  • Care for acute or chronic conditions - patients can avoid a stressful commute or anxious conversation with an unknown doctor by connecting virtually with their own DPC physician, who they know and trust. This can aid in the effective and fast treatment of sudden onset needs or serious chronic conditions.


Decent does DPC every way possible

Our plans are built around DPC—or more specifically: free primary care. We’re doing our part to change the core incentives in healthcare. Whether you go into a physical office, send your doctor a text, or chat on the phone for fifteen minutes, we want to ensure that you get the best care possible from your primary care doctor.


DPC allows primary care doctors to focus on keeping you healthy because our plans take care of their fees. By changing the stakes and promoting high value health care, you are sure to get the best care. It’s in your doctor’s interest to make sure you get the best care because they don’t make more money if you continue to come back with health problems. Pricing is transparent, so you don’t have to worry about hidden charges and surprise bills. In this model of healthcare, your doctor earns your loyalty and trust and you stay healthy. It’s as simple as that. Get your free quote today.

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