How many people do you care about?

How many people do you care about?

When I set out to become a doctor, I had a vision of providing detailed, high-quality care for my patients - helping them with their problems, advising them during uncertainty, and helping them to stay healthy. But the reality of being a primary care doctor in the United States is harsh.

The typical Family Medicine doctor has 2,300 patients in their practice. National statistics show that the average doctor sees 1% of their practice on any given working day. For the average doctor, that's 23 patients each day or about 1 patient every 20 minutes. 

When you factor in the time spent taking vitals, rooming the patient, and typing all of the requisite information into the computer, most people are left with only 8 - 10 minutes of face time with their doctor. 

One of my goals is to address this issue and this is one of the reasons that I have created Plum Health DPC, a Direct Primary Care practice in Detroit, Michigan. In Direct Primary Care practices, the practice size is limited to 500 members. If a doctor sees 1% of their practice on any given day, that's roughly 5 people per day. 

This arrangement of 5 patients per day allows doctors enough time to go through all of the issues and answer all of the questions. It provides enough time so that you and your doctor can get to the root of the problem and find solutions that will actually work for you, rather than a shotgun approach. 

And at 5 patients per day, doctors can begin to care again - there's enough time to connect and to restore the doctor-patient relationship.

To learn more about Direct Primary Care and Plum Health DPC, check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PlumHealthDPC/ 

References:

1.) Average panel size for primary care doctors: http://www.annfammed.org/content/10/5/396.full

2.) Average time spent with doctor, as estimated by WebMD: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-long-is-average-doctors-visit-2016-4

3.) Another perspective on rushed appointments: http://khn.org/news/15-minute-doctor-visits/

- Paul Thomas, MD