A major development is that research shows that more comprehensive primary care, such as with direct primary care, improves quality and lowers overall healthcare costs. Commercial insurance companies, Medicare and even Medicaid are starting to provide contracts to direct primary care physicians for populations of patients.
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Direct primary care saves money by reducing the need for emergency department visits and hospital stays. The population served becomes healthier through more comprehensive care. With advanced information system tools, secure online communication and team practice, direct primary care models are likely to become the traditional primary care of the 21st century.
Joseph E. Scherger, MD, MPH, is a family physician in La Quinta, California, and a member of the Medical Economics editorial advisory board. Do you think Direct Primary Care can replace traditional fee-for-service care? Tell us at [email protected].