How we re-created primary medical care

How we re-created primary medical care

Once we decided to stop working for insurance companies and start working exclusively for our patients, we were faced with the task of creating a practice that reflected our ideals. We discarded our previous experience of a doctor’s office, challenging ourselves to create something better from scratch. We asked ourselves such questions as:

“When does the medical visit start?”

Answer: With the first phone call. So let’s have our phones answered live by real (and really smart) people.

“What’s the ideal location?”

Answer: Someplace central with a ton of easy parking. So let’s avoid those congested medical office buildings that are convenient to absolutely nothing but hospitals.

“How long should a patient have to wait to see the doctor?

Answer: A minute sounds good, and certainly no more than four. So let’s build plenty of breathing room into the schedule, even if — especially if — unanticipated questions arise.

“What answering service should we use?”

Answer: Busy people don’t call their doctor to talk to an answering service, they call their doctor to talk to their doctor. So let’s just answer our own phones.

It seemed like there were a million details, and we sweated every one of them. Soundproofing for privacy, soothing decor for comfort, staff members who are all talented problem-solvers — it was all hardwired into our practice from the very start.

And we keep on learning and improving, even after 18+ years. Some examples:

  • Our in-depth annual health assessments are one of the most important ways we work with patients to maintain their health. But they require fasting labs, and skipping breakfast makes people grumpy. So we sweetened the deal — and improved everybody’s conversational skills — by serving a homemade breakfast, including fresh and healthy muffins from our own recipes.
  • When we recognized that some of our patients were visiting their pharmacy every month for refills, we started providing a year’s worth of medicine at a time, and if they have multiple homes, enough to stock all of them at once.
  • After reviewing available medical software we concluded that if we wanted it done right we’d have to do it ourselves. Few small practices have an in-house computer expert on staff, but we do because nowadays software is vital to patient care, and like all other aspects of our practice, ours needs to be as close to perfect as possible.
  • We even have a standing creativity committee that meets weekly to brainstorm ways to make things better around here.

When our ideas first gained national attention we received calls from physicians around the country asking how to start a similar practice. While flattered, we resisted giving them (or selling them) a playbook.

We think all doctors already have what they need to create great medical practices: the training they got in med school and the human decency they got from their families. If they would mix in some creative effort, American medicine would be in a better place.

303.789.4949 1780 South Bellaire Street #700
Denver, CO 80222
303.789.4949 1780 South Bellaire Street #700
Denver, CO 80222