It’s hard to ignore all the buzz around the announcement regarding the disbanding of the highly hyped Haven Healthcare, the brainchild of industry giants Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JP Morgan Chase. It was only three years ago that the Haven joint healthcare venture burst onto the scene with tremendous fanfare around its lofty goal of creating an alternative model that would wring excess costs out of the American healthcare system while improving patient outcomes and access. While the highly acclaimed initiative managed to pilot a few innovative ways to create easier access to primary care, it accomplished little else before publicly disintegrating.
There are many theories as to why the effort did not produce the desired results. But rather than focus on what didn’t work, let’s focus on what has worked and is continuing to work. Long before anyone had heard of Haven, another innovative healthcare model was proving its worth.
The value of direct primary care
Direct primary care has existed in some form for more than a decade but has gained considerable momentum in recent years as a result of skyrocketing healthcare costs. It has been compared to concierge medicine, through which an annual subscription is paid for direct access to specific healthcare providers. A Direct Primary Care model, like the one we employ, offers members unlimited, on-demand visits to primary care physicians for a flat, monthly fee that is typically paid by employers. And they do so with amazing results.
Through our model, for example, 90% of healthcare needs are handled with 24/7 primary care access. That translates into fewer hospital admissions by people with chronic diseases, fewer ER visits and lower pharmacy costs. On average, our clients recognize a 20% reduction in total claims costs.
But cost savings is just one part of the model’s success story. Improved health outcomes represent another desirable result. Day-in and day-out we see patients with multiple chronic disease risk factors being able to control their risks, often for the first time in their lives. More specifically,
67% of patients with high blood pressure experienced decreases
37% of patients with high cholesterol reduced their levels
38% of obese patients significantly reduced their BMI
44% of patients with uncontrolled A1c reduced their levels
People are making positive changes that contribute to improved mental health
Active vs. passive healthcare
A primary reason for this success is that this form of primary care is not passive. We don’t simply wait for someone to get sick to self-identify like other primary care physicians are forced to do. Our providers have comprehensive patient data at their fingertips that is organized using advanced technology, as well as volumes of claims and clinical data and predictive analytics. With this information, our team can track progress across our entire patient panel daily and proactively reach out to those that need the help.
Equally important is improved access. With 350 onsite and near-site centers located in 32 states, we’ve made it fast and easy for employees to receive the care they need. Many of these centers include extended hours to accommodate early morning and late-night shifts so that employees miss as little time from work as possible while still staying on track with critical treatments and checkups. A significant expansion of telehealth services assured that easy access continued despite the COVID pandemic when many patients were wary of risking exposure when coming out to see their doctors.
More than 40% of our patient visits, in fact, were done virtually while COVID case numbers were on the rise.
The realities of a pandemic
Speaking of the pandemic, it was one of the reasons listed as to why the Haven joint venture didn’t work out. Some industry analysts thought that the timing simply wasn’t right as Haven could not achieve its desired results amidst a global healthcare crisis. Yet, through that same pandemic, Direct Primary Care models like ours continued to work. While many private practice physicians were in jeopardy of having to shut their doors due to the crushing financial devastation of the COVID virus, our centers thrived. Our doors remained open—both physically and virtually—so that our members continued to receive timely care which helped to keep them away from overburdened hospital emergency departments.
Why did Direct Primary Care centers survive so well while the viability of more traditional offices was threatened? Simple. Because this model is based on a strong foundation built on prevention and primary care. Unfortunately, much of our healthcare system remains focused on treating sickness rather than preventing illness. Direct Primary Care looks to correct root causes and fix problems before they become catastrophic. Our physicians have additional time to dig deeper, do more research and listen to our patients. As a result, we establish strong relationships with our patients. We know them and their health risks. So we can flag issues quickly, often without relying on more costly specialists or hospital referrals.
That’s likely what Haven was hoping to do. But it didn’t need to create a brand-new model to succeed. Rather, it could simply look at the time-tested, pandemic-proof Direct Primary Care model as a preferred alternative. Interested in exploring how Everside’s direct primary care services might fit into your organization’s benefits offering? Contact us today to start the conversation at email@example.com.