FORBES: Direct Primary Care: Consumer Perspective

By Dave Chase, Contributor

No industry has a lower Net Promoter Score than the Health Insurance industry. Not cable companies. Not airlines. Having interviewed many consumers of Direct Primary Care (DPC), the recurring theme to their comments borders on “it’s too good to be true” as consumer expectations have arrived at a point in healthcare where one is shocked by customer service that is the norm in other industries.

As health plans and organization seek to reinvent themselves, it has been stunning just how low the awareness amongst healthcare executives has been of DPC given its ability to allow them to improve their perception amongst consumers. This is particularly critical as consumer-direct marketing will become important. Further, DPC is a great tool for competing on exchanges (something explicitly called out in Obamacare). Not only can the offered health plan be significantly less expensive by removing the insurance bureaucracy tax from the equivalent of a visit to Jiffy Lube, it’s a risk mitigation strategy. Why? A key risk health plans have is they aren’t able to underwrite the way they have in the past under Obamacare. Thus, if one wants to mitigate claims, nothing has proven itself more effective than DPC at reducing downstream utilization of expensive healthcare services. All while receiving Net Promoter Scores better than Apple AAPL +0.16% or Google GOOG -0.25%.

Net Promoter Score by industry

Net Promoter Score by industry

It’s no surprise that a handful of smart health plans are readying an aggressive DPC plus high deductible wraparound package designed to steal marketshare from their lethargic competitors. But that’s a topic for another piece later.

This article is a section of a longer paper on DPC that was introduced in an earlier piece – Health Plan Rorschach Test: Direct Primary Care. The following excerpt from that article briefly explains DPC if it’s a new concept. Click through the previous link for additional context.

Despite its inclusion in Obamacare, Direct Primary Care (DPC, aka Concierge Medicine for the Masses), it’s surprising how few health insurance executives know about DPC. DPC  is a model of paying for primary care outside of insurance. The individual or organization paying for healthcare pays a monthly fee (like a gym membership) for all primary care needs. Generally, DPC providers say they can address 80 or more of the top 100 most common diagnoses.

[Contact me via LinkedIn if you’d like a copy of the full seminal study on the Direct Primary Care model – excerpts will be published on Forbes]

Consumer Perspective

Broad studies haven’t been done to measure consumer attitudes regarding DPC. As mentioned previously, there is generally very low awareness that such a model exists. Consequently, the paper is limited to a sampling of consumer interviews, 3rd party review sites such as Yelp YELP +4.14% and studies done by the DPC practices themselves.

The following two graphics depict the process for a typical primary care visit operating in an insurance model and a DPC model. Not only does the DPC model drive significant savings, the consumer experience is greatly improved.

Before Direct Primary Care ….


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