Healthcare is broken and insurance complicates matters more than it helps. Not because insurance is bad, but because it is rather inefficiently used. You don’t buy car insurance for oil changes or tire pressure checks, so why have health insurance for your basic annual health checkup?
In America, every citizen is required by law to have medical insurance. But patients seeking primary care should be able to pay for it directly, using insurance coverage only for hospitalizations, surgeries and other specialized care. AtlasMD offers “Direct Care” that does away with insurance altogether and makes the patient, rather than the paperwork, the focus for the doctors. And it’s accessible right from your browser!
About the Startup
Josh Umbehr, MD, a praciting physician and co-founder of AtlasMD, was a trash man for 10 years before he decided to become a doctor. He speaks positively about the strange career jump and the way it inspired him, “It was a very simple business model, I was paid each month to pick up whatever I could haul to the curb. However, healthcare is this unnecessarily complex beast of a business model. I actually wanted something more analogous to our efficient trash hauling business!” He and co-founder, Doug Nunamaker, MD, started a direct care clinic in Wichita and it laid the foundation of AtlasMD.
Simply put, AtlasMD is a web based Electronic Medical Record (EMR) software and availble across all internet-enabled devices. It also integrate with consumer wearable devices like fitbit, blood pressure cuffs, glucometers, fitness apps and more. For a flat fee every month, patients have unlimited access to their doctor in person and by phone or skype for routine things like checkups, infections or flu shots as well as chronic‐condition maintenance like blood tests for diabetes.
AtlasMD is trying to solve the problem of doctors hating their electronic medical records. Explains Josh, “Most EMR’s are built on antiquated technology, enclosed systems and networks, pandering to insurance companies and government systems. They are not built to optimally facilitate healthcare. AtlasMD is built on modern technology for a mobile world to improve the doctor-patient relationship in a cost-effective manner.”
How It Improves Healthcare
Direct Care was originally conceived before Obamacare as a response to the recession. The current fee‐for‐service system pays caregivers a certain amount for each test, diagnosis and procedure – which, according to critics, encourages over-treatment instead of preventive wellness care. The direct care model is trying to solve the problem of “over insurance” or “bureaucratic medicine” which is complicated, slow, and expensive. Josh believes focusing on primary healthcare is crucial, “When people get good primary care, their maladies are diagnosed more quickly and can be managed before they grow into crises. The fee‐for‐service insurance model discourages this approach as it pays mainly for treating disease, not preventing it. Worse, it makes the life of a primary caregiver so exhausting that students in medical schools and nursing schools are avoiding the field altogether.”
AtlasMD faces competition from traditional electronic medical record companies like Practice Fusion or Dr. Chronos. Even though these programs are designed for the traditional insurance-based practice many physicians are more comfortable with the status quo. “Helping physicians to understand why the director model is better for their patients and themselves is part of our challenge”, says Josh.
About their Plans
The healthcare market includes approximately 250,000 primary care physicians and AtlasMD plans to reach at least 10,000 physicians within the next few years. Josh is hopeful, “I truly believe that the direct care model is a paradigm shift that will change the face of modern medicine.”
Patients, physicians are the obvious target audience of AtlasMD but the company is also pitching to insurance companies that by eliminating the need to ensure primary care at a high administrative cost, their specialized care insurance plans will carry less risks.
The service is available for a flat rate of $300 per physician per month. Physicians can avail a 30-day free trial while patients can share their success stories with this new healthcare paradigm using #iamdirectcare. For more details, head over to: