Independent Primary Care
The greatest accomplishments in medicine are achieved through teamwork. Why then, is Wise Patient’s independence a core component of its mission to be the smartest and most compassionate primary care clinic in Seattle?
Independence, in this case, refers the fact that Wise Patient is not influenced by the financial motivations of a large medical institution.
I am very grateful for large medical institutions. I feel indebted to them. My formal medical training occurred within Stanford University Medical Center and the University of Washington Medical Center affiliated hospitals. Most of my career I have been employed by a large medical institution. The majority of the specialists I refer patients to are employed by large medical institutions. In short, I rely on large medical institutions most everyday for all sorts of teamwork that benefits my patients.
Yet, being administratively independent from large medical institutions allows me greater clarity of thought and transparency as a primary care physician:
- I feel no pressure to refer my patients to only one institution’s specialists.
- I feel no extra pressure to refer my patients to procedures and tests that reimburse the institution more favorably.
- My patients are never charged an extra “facility fee” for their visit to me.
So long as the electronic health record IT that allows primary care physicians to interact with other healthcare providers and medical institutions is robust – as it is in my case thanks to Athenahealth – I believe that independent primary care has the power to improve patient health outcomes, patient satisfaction, and decrease healthcare costs.