The CEO of Atlas MD discusses the business side of medicine and the flexibility of direct primary care
Josh Umbehr is the CEO of Atlas MD and a family physician in direct primary care. With over ten years of clinical education experience, he has many useful pearls on how to approach primary care education. He also covers a lot of business negotiating and the business of medicine educational material in their clinical rotations. Healthcare revolves around money and physicians should be well educated in many of the business aspects that they may be involved in.
In primary care, there are standard inpatient costs and times associated with them. However, with a non-insurance-based practice, physicians and students may have more time for patient discussion and forming stronger connections. There are often richer experiences available to students by running many of their own labs and procedures in comparison to insurance-based primary care clinics. The model allows for more flexibility, according to practitioners.
Strong preceptors are talented at phrasing their questions in the right way. They take the time to educate their medical students and avoid “read my mind” questions. They help guide the learner past the textbook and toward finding answers on their own. Clinical preceptors must also avoid using their learners as work-horses in order to maintain their busy schedules. There are many potential learning experiences that can occur each day and knowing which ones will benefit the student the most comes from experience. Although medical students must learn to properly fill out and file paperwork, this is not always a great learning opportunity.
Josh also states that an added benefit to learners and patients in the direct care model is time for decision making. There is much more time to decide if a patient should be referred out or if this is something that can be handled in-house, potentially leading to substantial savings. On the other end, patients in a gray area may cause anxiety-provoking situations. However, decision options can be discussed more thoroughly in a DPC setting than in many insurance-based settings.
Dr. Umbehr recommends that students focus on a few key principles when they are on clinical rotations in primary care.
- Professionalism and leading by example are not only the ethical things to do: they build trust and help to lead patients to be more honest with healthcare professionals.
- Keeping an open mind can greatly benefit learners. This can allow them to find answers that may not be top of the list and look for solutions outside the box. This can also be active listeners and not simply “wait for their turn to talk.”
- Developing technology skills and communications also greatly impact the efficiency of our clinical training and should be a top consideration.
For more information and links on DPC, please check out Episode 1.2 with Alison Edwards!
Note: All summaries are host interpretations and are not intended to reflect direct statements made by guests or mentioned associations.