If you’ve decided to take the leap and start your own Direct Primary Care practice, congratulations! You’re now part of a healthcare revolution that is restoring the doctor-patient relationship and transforming the way care is delivered and paid for. So what’s next? 


In this blog series, we’ll aim to break down the key components involved in setting your Direct Primary Care practice up for success. From business formation and legal to-do’s, to program design and marketing, you’ll get a glimpse into the extensive checklist that’s included in our DPC Playbook - a comprehensive guide to starting, managing and growing a Direct Primary Care practice. In this first installment of our blog series, we’ll discuss your ‘North Star’ and setting up your business.

The North Star Exercise

An important question to answer early on in your DPC journey is “Why DPC?” What is it that’s calling you to go against the grain of the traditional fee-for-service model of care and to pursue this alternative path? Maybe it’s the desire to practice medicine the way you want to. Perhaps it’s a better work/life balance and spending more time with your family. Whatever it is, take some time to brainstorm and reflect on your ‘why’ and your purpose behind choosing the DPC route. This is what we call ‘The North Star Exercise.’


Once you have your ‘North Star’, let those core values and insights be the driving force as you set up your practice. Connecting to your ‘why’ and continuously revisiting it will help inform your decisions from your practice name and branding, to the types of patients you choose to serve.


Take your time with The North Star Exercise and lay the foundation of why you’re practicing Direct Primary Care before moving on to the logistics of setting up your DPC.


Setting Up Your DPC

Taking the time to properly set up the business side of your practice will save you headaches down the road and allow for smooth sailing to do what you do best - deliver exceptional care to patients. As you embark on the groundwork of setting up the structure of your business, the first things you’ll want to think about are:


  1. Business Formation
  2. Legal Guidance
  3. Financial Framework


Business Formation 

Call upon your North Star as you choose a business name that embodies your values, while also considering your location, future expansion plans, and online discoverability - easy right? If you’re struggling with naming your practice, it’s a good idea to get feedback on your DPC practice name to make sure it resonates with the people you want to reach. 


Once you’ve landed on a name for your practice, you’ll use it to officially incorporate your business and apply for an employer identification number (EIN) with the IRS. Common incorporation types for direct primary care practices include a Professional Corporation (PC), a Professional Liability Corporation (PLC), or a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC). 


With your incorporation documents and your EIN in hand, you can open a bank account for your business.


Smiling doctor with laptop


Legal Guidance

Direct Primary Care is still a relatively new concept, so we recommend seeking out an attorney or law firm who is experienced in the medical space and preferably in direct care models to consult you. 


DPC laws also vary state-by-state and can affect patients and DPC healthcare providers alike. DPC Frontier is a great resource to refer to and provides up-to-date information on legal statutes by state.


Choosing the right legal counsel can help guide you as you navigate state laws and other legal implications, such as determining if your practice is a “covered entity” under HIPAA


Doctor with laptop checklist


Financial Framework

Establishing the financial framework of your business involves choosing a user-friendly tech stack of accounting and billing software to support your practice operations. Hint makes DPC membership management and billing easy and we don’t charge you until you have patients, plus as a Hint customer, you can download the full DPC Playbook, which breaks down in more detail what we’ve shared in this article and more.


Hint Core integrates with QuickBooks Online and will automatically link each credit or debit to an account you specify, such as undeposited funds or a checking account. 


Doctor with paperwork



Want to dive deeper into 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.


More DPC Resources

Hint Ecosystem

Browse through our list of vetted partners in the Hint Ecosystem. From medical devices and software products to health associations and business services, we’ve curated a network of DPC-specific solutions to enhance your practice. Explore the Ecosystem.