How MDVIP is transforming the primary care model from high-volume to high-touch for patients and physicians

The trend toward consumerism in healthcare has been on the rise but accelerated during the pandemic. Expectations for excellent customer service and personalized care continue to climb.

In a June Becker's Hospital Review webinar sponsored by MDVIP, three experts discussed these market trends, why the current high-volume primary care model is no longer sufficient and how MDVIP can transform this model to meet evolving patient and physician needs. The panelists were:

  • Chris Lillich, chief marketing officer, MDVIP 
  • Shep Dunlevie, MD, MDVIP-affiliated internist in Atlanta
  • Babbeth Saunders-Fowler, manager, practice operations, MDVIP

Five key takeaways were:

1. Patients want more control of their health, desire connection with their physician and expect stellar service. According to Mr. Lillich, patients are more actively engaged in their care today, want a closer relationship with their physician and value customer service as a top driver to satisfaction. A 2021 Press-Ganey Consumer Trends Report showed that outside of quality care, customer service was the top influencer of patient loyalty, with roughly two-thirds of patients citing the importance of service. 

2. During COVID, many providers struggled to meet customers' expectations, causing many patients to seek new physicians. Half of all patients said they have higher expectations for their doctors post-COVID, with nearly one in five patients considering changing physicians based on how they managed care during the pandemic, according to a SRM Consumer Sentiment Survey.

3. Current high-volume primary care models cannot meet patient demand for personalized, high-touch service. "Health systems need to start evaluating how they're practicing in the context of these evolving consumer needs," Mr. Lillich said. "Some questions to ask yourself about the patient experience: Are patients sitting in waiting rooms? Can they get same-day appointments? Can they reach their physician 24/7? Do they have access to their electronic health record? Is chronic stress and burnout impacting physicians’ ability to deliver high-quality service and medical care?"

4. MDVIP gives physicians the time, tools and support they need to deliver high-touch, personalized care. Based on a membership model, MDVIP limits primary care practices to 600 patients. This allows physicians to spend more time with patients, develop a close relationship and focus on prevention.

"One of the most valuable tools is our MDVIP Connect portal," Ms. Saunders-Fowler said. "Each patient portal has a wealth of information. Not only does it house patients' annual wellness exams and lab results, but it also enables them to get exercises, information about different conditions and diet planning." Committed to customer service, MDVIP physicians offer 24/7availability, same- or next-day appointments, telemedicine, regular communication and shorter wait times. 

5. Patients and physicians are highly satisfied with the MDVIP model. With an annual patient satisfaction rating of more than 90 percent, MDVIP doctors also boast a Net Promoter Score of 90. Of affiliated physicians, 96 percent are either extremely or very satisfied and the model has more than a 90 percent patient retention rate.

Dr. Dunlevie shared his own experience with MDVIP. Before becoming an affiliate, he was working in a hospital-owned primary care practice. "I found it really difficult in that high- volume model to deliver the kind of care I wanted to provide," he said. "I found myself either having to spend lots of extra time with patients and running way behind or trying to figure out how to cut corners to stay on time. Personally, I was working 14 or 15 hours a day and every Saturday and Sunday. When I switched to MDVIP in 2014, I started from the get-go with a full practice of 600 patients. I love it; my patients love it. It's really been a tremendous experience."

Innovative models like MDVIP can help patients better manage their own health and wellness while assisting physicians in delivering more personalized care in a sustainable manner.

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