HealthLinks Charleston May/June 2022

wwww. Char l es tonPr imar yPhys i c i ans . com | www.Hea l thL i nksChar l es ton . com | 65 “In those seven minutes, patients have a list of things they want to go over. Doctors have their list as well. So you’re trying to cram all of those things in. It makes for an unpleasant experience for everybody involved,” he said. “Doctors doing primary care get into it because they want to have long-term relationships with their patients. It’s hard to develop those when you’re trying to cram these encounters into seven-minute chunks.” When Dr. Blank opened Ember Modern Medicine in Greenville in 2021, he decided to join the small but growing number of doctors with direct primary care offices – which don’t accept health insurance. Instead, patients pay the practice directly. “By decoupling from the traditional insurance route, it gives providers a chance to provide better care,” said Dr. Blank, who worked for an Upstate hospital system before opening his direct primary care practice. “It returns to the roots of one-on-one care between doctor and patient.” Dr. Blank first experienced direct primary care while in medical school in North Carolina. He was working at a direct primary care practice in Apex, North Carolina, and had a patient who drove from Myrtle Beach, about 200 miles away. When he asked her why she had traveled all that way, she said that she could see her traditional doctor in Myrtle Beach and have a five-minute visit after waiting weeks for an appointment or travel to Apex to spend an hour with a doctor who knew her. SWITCHING TO DIRECT PRIMARY CARE By Cindy Landrum Dr. Brian Blank became a primary care physician because he wanted to develop meaningful relationships with patients to help them improve their health. But he says the traditional primary care setting isn’t really conducive to achieving that goal. Patients spend, on average, seven minutes with their doctor during office visits.