Why We Need Data in Direct Primary Care

Why We Need Data in Direct Primary Care

healthcare data

As the healthcare system continues to evolve at a crawling pace, patients, providers, employers and others continue to seek alternatives. No alternative has grown at the rate of Direct Primary Care (DPC); from 273 clinics in 2015 to 1,187 as of November 2019. Only 2 states remain without a DPC clinic. My home state of South Dakota, and it’s cold twin, North Dakota.

It is true that some DPC clinics hold a firm belief that they do not need data to operate a successful clinic. After all, a large reason why the DPC model was created was to reduce administrative burden, allowing more time with patients. However, as the rest of the healthcare system continues to invest heavily in information systems and data, DPC clinics are realizing that in a competitive free market, data is valuable. Analytics can be used for population health, tracking cost savings, weaving compelling stories about their practice and so much more. Thus helping with continued growth, quality of care and pushing the DPC movement forward.

As DPC continues to evolve, practices must evolve along with it. The collection and leveraging of data for different uses is vital if DPC wants to become a long-term, viable solution in the U.S. healthcare marketplace. Perhaps above all, I have yet to see conclusive, published data with rigorous methodology proving the true impact and effect size of Direct Primary Care.

“Data! Data! Data!… I cannot make bricks without clay” – Sherlock Holmes

Here at KPI Ninja, we continue to do our best to bring the world of analytics to DPC. But why data in DPC? Here are a few reasons:

  • Population Health: Identify and track metrics which are meaningful to YOU and how YOU care for YOUR patients.
  • Tell your story. What tells a better story?
    a. I believe I am providing better care and reducing costs for my population.
    b. I am providing better care and reducing costs. Here’s the proof.
  • Sprint from the starting gate. When onboarding a new population, by analyzing historical data, arm yourself with a list of patient needs from Day 1.
  • Track and curb downstream cost. If your goal is to provide better care at lower cost to your community and local employers, this is a crucial step for both quality and cost.
  • Be ahead of the pack. The rest of the healthcare system is investing heavily in data infrastructure and capabilities. Let’s do it better.
  • Encourage others to join the movement. The more evidence we produce and spread, the more others take notice. Let’s give medical students, clinicians and policy makers reason to pick primary care and join the fun.
  • Other: business development; operations; disease management programs; staffing; data sharing; employer reporting; policy advocacy; etc.

Society needs DPC. DPC needs data.

Kyle Poss

About the Author
Director, Direct Care Initiatives at KPI Ninja, Inc.
Kyle holds a Masters of Public Health from the University of South Dakota, completing his capstone thesis DPC, and is currently working on a Doctorate of Healthcare Administration, focused on Information Systems, through the Medical University of South Carolina.

About KPI Ninja
KPI Ninja is a data analytics company that helps healthcare organizations accelerate their quality, safety, and financial goals with a unique combination of software and service. We are differentiated by our signature mix of technology, performance management consulting and healthcare expertise. We don’t merely offer software solutions but work shoulder to shoulder with clients to help them draw on the power of analytics and continuous improvement methodologies to become more efficient. In harmony with our data-centered ethos, we truly believe that our success is strongly co-related with yours.

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