When it comes to children, parents always want the absolute best care they can find, whether it be childcare or schools, sports, activities, and especially healthcare. As the healthcare business continues to evolve to meet the changing needs of its customers and patients, so do the models of care that parents have to choose from. We outline three pediatrician healthcare choices below so you can be informed of available options and make the best decisions for your family.
The most common and well-known of the three is a traditional pediatrician’s practice has at least one pediatrician, many times more than one, with each doctor responsible for 2,000 to 3,000 patients. These can be privately owned and managed or owned and managed by a larger entity with several locations and resources.
With a large number of patients, pediatricians will typically see a patient for a 15- or 20-minute visit, allowing them to do the assessments they need to, answer any questions the parent or patient may have, and make recommendations as needed. The limited time in person often doesn’t matter to parents because they get what they need and can call a nurse in the office or go to the internet for the rest of their needs.
This particular model of care has been working for years and has many advantages, which is why it is so well-known and popular. However, with more access to information on the internet and an overwhelming number of results when searching, some families are looking for more time and a deeper relationship with their pediatrician.
A new medical concept delivers care much differently but is still very effective. In recent podcast interviews with co-founders of Zest Pediatric Network, Dr. Keili Mistovich and Dr. Drew Hertz, they explain how and why they developed this new method of pediatric care.
Contrary to the traditional model, pediatricians in a DPC practice only have 250 to 300 patients in their care, allowing them almost unlimited time with each patient. This opens up the opportunity to do the physical exams and answer typical care questions while building a lifelong relationship with the patient and family. Thus, the structure opens up a spectrum of questions and conversations about the child's well-being.
For example, patients in Dr. Keili Mistovich's DPC practice may have the opportunity to discuss college planning, mental health, behavior stages, how to play with your baby, and more. Many of the topics that parents typically go to the internet or other trusted family and friends to discuss and learn can be discussed with the pediatrician. This more centralized care approach is well-received by many families.
Additionally, because of the smaller number of patients, the pediatricians in a DPC practice are more available for more extended visits and in-home visits for new babies and sick children via text/phone 24 hours a day. This kind of access is unheard of in a traditional model but really benefits the relationship between the family and pediatrician in a DPC practice.
Another interesting difference in a DPC practice is that health insurance is not involved. Instead, all other care and access are covered with a monthly or annual fee to the practice. This allows the doctors to practice as they see fit, whereas the requirements or restrictions of the health insurance provider dictate a traditional practice's time and schedule.
Concierge medicine is a newer concept in care but is more well-known than DPC. A concierge model is similar to DPC but more common with adult care. Its smaller number of patients to each doctor allows for more time and a deeper relationship, ultimately leading to a more holistic approach to the patient’s health.
A concierge practice can bill insurance companies and accept insurance and requires a monthly fee from the patient, but still has the flexibility and time to provide the time and access to the doctor, similar to DPC practices.
Healthcare is a complex and behemoth of a business. There is a lot of innovation in the space, and if you’re not in it every day, it’s easy to miss. That’s why we loved having Dr. Mistovich and Dr. Hertz on the ParentMD podcast to discuss what they are doing with their direct pediatric care practices and let parents know that there are options.
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