DPC Playbook Blog Series: Program Design and Business Plan
By Haby Barry
An integral part of establishing your direct primary care practice is having a clear understanding of your membership offering and the patient population you’d like to serve. This is where you get to design the practice of your dreams according to your values and the experience you’d like to create for yourself as a clinician and for your patients. Do you want to focus on a niche like medical weight loss, beauty, sports medicine or herbal remedies? Do you want to offer different tiers of membership? This is where you’ll need to determine the right price point for your practice’s membership offerings that will sustain you and your business. Other things to consider include minimum contractual requirements for patients as well as discounts for families and employer groups.
When designing your membership programs, there is no right or wrong, but there are best practices that you’ll want to adhere to, so that you can set yourself up for success. For example, telemedicine and access to you and your practice via phone and text is something you’ll want to include for all tiers of membership. Are there certain procedures that you want to offer at different tiers of membership? Are there ancillary services that you will require a separate fee to provide? Do you want to offer in-house dispensing? Your north star and training are going to be the guides that ultimate determine your membership program design.
The program design of your practice helps lay the foundation to your business plan because it is essentially your business model, but you have to go deeper to project what it is that you’ll need to break even and take it a step further to see how you’ll establish a sustainable direct primary care practice. A business plan is essentially a roadmap that will change as you put things into practice, so you don’t have to have all the answers, but you do want to get as detailed as possible. Your business plan will be a useful tool to establish a healthy financial outlook and will be needed for funding opportunities.
There are a ton of resources out there to help guide you through creating a business plan and we also recommend finding a mentor who runs a direct primary care practice, so that you can learn first hand from their experience. Doctors and clinicians in this community want to see others succeed and we need more DPCs to open all across the country, so that people have access to this transformational model of care. A great place to look for DPCs in your area is via the Direct Primary Care Coalition website or google it. There are also a number of Facebook groups you can join to find other local DPC clinicians. It’s important to have support as you make this transition and we’re here to help.
For deeper insights on the ins and outs of starting, managing and growing a Direct Primary Care practice, download Chapter One of our DPC Playbook, a step-by-step guide for DPC clinicians, or become a Hint Customer to access the full playbook.