Direct primary care startup Hint Health closed $45M in Series B funding to support its ambitious mission of giving providers a way to get off the fee-for-service “hamster wheel” through an end-to-end platform for opening membership-based direct care practices.
Direct primary care (DPC) is a membership model where patients are charged a monthly rate (usually between $50 and $75) in exchange for a predetermined list of services from their primary care physician, aligning incentives similarly to value-based structures but without any third party payor involvement.
- DPC allows physicians to work for patients as opposed to the healthcare system, which results in shorter waits for appointments and more time spent in each visit (45min avg, compared to 18min for FFS models).
- According to Hint’s in-depth overview of the market, DPC membership has increased 241% since 2017, but has yet to break into the mainstream. The 300k patients enrolled across 1.6k DPC practices still represent less than 1% of total US primary care.
- Critics argue that DPC could worsen physician shortages because doctors see fewer patients under the model, but considering how frequently we cover stories related to burnout and early retirements, lower volumes might not be as bad as it sounds.
Hint is leading the charge of driving DPC adoption with its HintOS platform that reduces the administrative burden of opening a direct care practice by automating enrollment, membership management, and billing.
- HintOS supports the direct-to-employer contracting frequently used by DPC practices by managing eligibility and other aspects of the relationship that typically rely on a FFS infrastructure.
- Hint also operates a national DPC network called Hint Connect that connects providers to potential employer partners, and the new funding will be used to expand this network while continuing to build out HintOS.
Getting physicians to abandon the payor revenue that’s traditionally served as the foundation of their business sounds like a tough pitch, but Hint’s DPC operating system probably makes the conversation a lot more interesting. Until recently, there hasn’t been a turnkey solution to enable the creation of a DPC practice, and if Hint can use its new funding to become that solution, it will make the model a viable path for plenty of other physicians looking to cut out the payor middleman and spend more time working with patients.