A Week in the Life of a Start-up DPC
I just celebrated 6 months open! Let us celebrate by reliving the week!
I usually work later hours on Mondays. But, a patient calls and is flying out of state in the afternoon, he thinks he might have strep throat. I pop in early, do an in-office rapid strep test (included in membership), and lo and behold he's right, it's positive!! An Rx for penicillin is faxed to his pharmacy, and he is good to go! In the evening, I take care of three more patients: one for hormone therapy, one for an infection, and one for an ER follow-up after he survived an assassination attempt by his cat (yes, it was a tripping).
My morning is a two-hour + appointment with a patient who is very concerned about their health. They have multiple issues, fears, and very long list of things they have questions about. I have my NP student, Shawna, working with me that day. We document the patient's list of ailments and questions, and then tick through each one, providing answers and reassurance where we can, and medical work up when it's appropriate. Patient is appreciative. In my old clinic we would have had about 7 minutes together and they would have had to reschedule over and over to address each of their issues separately. In the afternoon we see a geriatric patient for mental health, do an annual exam on a school-age child, and a follow up for multiple issues for an adult daughter of another patient. A good day for actual patient-centered care and teaching!
4th of July. I take my trumpet and play with my band for retirement communities and nursing homes up the I-5 corridor and have a relaxing BBQ with friends. I also schedule a few patients, return a few texts and emails, all while sipping my soda and munching on my meal. Not a bad day. (I'm second from the right in that polaroid picture of the formidable trumpet section on the 4th. You can find me by my huge cheesy smile!)
Thursday I see a couple patients for routine follow ups, draw some labs, and finish my paperwork for the last 2 weeks - referrals, prior authorizations, account updates with distributers, etc. I hear from no less than 6 patients all wanting to come in on Friday. No problem! I get them all scheduled for next-day appointments. I also cut off all my hair (or, rather, I paid a professional to cut off all of my hair)! Then, in the evening, I go for a ride on my horse because it's so nice out and the days are still long.
8 AM I start the day with my horse while he gets his hooves trimmed by the farrier. Then I head home for a quick change and off to work for my busiest day of the week. I orient a new patient, help two patients get affordable medications and follow up on their ongoing issues, help another patient get cleared for work after an injury, then lunch. After tending to the dogs and eating a very quick meal I'm right back in the office seeing a patient for an ER follow up after an impressive allergic reaction, then see a patient I worked in who had something lodged in the bottom of their foot, then a patient of mine battling cancer for our first follow up since she started (and finished) radiation treatment. I stick around at work to finish up my charts and referrals, then done for the week.
Remember my "Day in the Life" post last fall? No? Well click here and refresh your memory. I have no doubt that the patients I saw this week left better understood and more appropriately treated than the ones I saw in that half-day of insanity in "the system".
And I can say: At a full six months in, Oodle Family Medicine is financially sound and growing!
I have been happy with my slow and steady growth as it has allowed me time to iron out kinks and establish a workflow. But now, I'm ready to grow faster!
In a meeting with Oodle's phlebotomist, receptionist, physician, janitor, scheduler, referral coordinator, and biller (a.k.a, me, myself, and I) it's been decided the time is right to start planning some marketing strategies! Stay tuned...!