Concierge Medicine vs Direct Primary Care

Concierge Medicine vs Direct Primary Care

Determining the differences in concierge medicine vs direct primary care can be challenging. After all, many websites, and even traditional practitioners, routinely misuse the terms or use them interchangeably, when they really are two distinct things. To learn which model is right for you, or to gain a better understanding of what options are available, we’ll give a brief breakdown and the background here.

Why Are There Different Models?

In short, many patients feel like their needs aren’t being met in traditional practices, and physicians are often unhappy with the level of care they can provide under “normal” conditions. As the years have gone by, patient counts at family practices have skyrocketed to the point where doctors are responsible for thousands of people in one practice, while time with physicians has steadily declined. In order to correct this, the medical profession has changed. Some doctors keep their counts high by reducing their time with patients even more. They may hire nurse practitioners or auxiliary staff who handle more patient care, while those who still want more direct patient contact and interaction typically turn to one of the other two models outlined here.

What is Concierge Medicine?

Concierge medicine in Chicago and the U.S. is an alternate model for general physicians and family practices. Offices that operate this way typically charge a monthly or yearly retainer or membership fee, and also bill insurance for individual procedures. As such, the doctors can see fewer patients and increase the amount of time they spend with each. This is especially important for those suffering from chronic conditions, but it’s also hugely beneficial for anyone who wants to focus on total wellness, rather than just visiting the doctor for sick visits. There are also other perks thrown in, but they vary based on the office. It’s somewhat common for a doctor to be on-call 24/7 to answer patient questions, for people to be able to get in quicker when they have an issue, and for patients to have a dedicated staff member overseeing care, including scheduling testing or specialist appointments that may need to be completed outside of the office. Although concierge medicine practices were once reserved for the affluent, they’ve become much more mainstream now and are within reach for most people.

What is Direct Primary Care?

Direct primary care offices are distinguished by the fact that they don’t bill insurance companies for patients. It frees them from the confines of insurance regulations, relieves them from the stress of fighting denials, and eliminates the expense of having insurance billing professionals on staff. In these offices, patients still pay a monthly or yearly fee, and they also pay cash for treatment. In exchange, patients tend to have more time with their physicians, but they don’t get perks like a concierge-style office would offer. It’s also worth noting that, although there are both large and small DPC practices which cater to individuals, the model tends to be most popular with employers who provide medical care for their staff.

Concierge Medicine vs Direct Primary Care: What Are the Differences?

Again, every practice works a little differently, so it’s important to check with a concierge medicine office before scheduling to make sure you understand how it operates in advance, but the general differences in concierge medicine vs direct primary care are outlined below.

Concierge Medicine vs Direct Primary Care vs Traditional Practice

  • Bills insurance



  • Patients pay cash (out-of-pocket)



  • Bills Insurance



  • Monthly fees average $180



  • Monthly fees average $80



  • No monthly fees



  • Doctors usually have a few hundred patients



  • Doctors may have 1,500 patients



  • Doctors have 2,500+ patients



  • Offices offer more services and tests



  • Offices provide a basic level of care



  • Offices provide a basic level of care



  • Most doctors spend 30-60 minutes with patients, with about 14% spending 60-90 minutes with patients each visit



  • Most doctors spend 30-60 minutes with patients



  • Doctors spend, on average, 8 minutes with each patient



  • Doctor is on call 24/7



  • Doctor available during business hours



  • Doctor available during business hours



  • Offices offer perks



  • No perks



  • No perks


Data Gathered from the JABFM Study, Concierge Medicine Research, and Annals of Family Medicine.

Concierge Medicine vs Direct Primary Care In Chicago: Which is Best?

At Dedication Health, we believe extraordinary care is best provided through the concierge medicine model. Because concierge medicine doesn’t rely on individuals to pay cash for all services, it puts personalized care within reach for more people, while enabling the doctors ample time to see to total wellness through proactive concierge healthcare. In short, patients stay healthier and happier.

If you’d like to learn more about our practice or are interested in becoming a member, contact us via our online form or call 847-986-6770 to speak with Christine, our practice manager.