Is a direct payment model right for you?

A survey of more than 700 physicians and practice managers found that 46 percent indicated they would consider transitioning to direct pay, concierge care or other membership models in the next three years, citing the desire to spend more time with patients and to separate from the insurance payer system as their primary motivators.

In fact, 81 percent of private (direct pay or concierge) practices reported that, on average, they spend 30-60 minutes with patients, whereas the majority of traditional insurance-based practices stated that they were only able to spend 15-20 minutes with a patient on average.

The American Academy of Private Physicians (AAPP) survey, in conjunction with Kareo, a provider of cloud-based solutions for independent medical practices, measured physicians' satisfaction with their current business as well as their intent to move toward membership models (direct pay, concierge, etc.) as a way to alleviate difficulties.

When asked what they desired as their top technology features, private pay practices were more likely to want online scheduling, patient portals, online billing and payments and credit cards on file, the survey said. Traditional practices were more likely to want improved claims management, financial reporting and specialty electronic health records.

Respondents also detailed the primary challenges of each of their respective practice models. For conventional, insurance-based practices, the most commonly faced challenge is staying financially viable. For concierge and direct-pay practices, recruiting new patients was the top concern.

"There are challenges and benefits for both private and conventional practice models," Rob Pickell, Chief Strategy Officer of Kareo, said in a news release. "However, despite varying workflows and processes, providers are assessing the environment and making changes to better serve patients and ensure the success of their practices."