Episode 106: Dr. Jlyn Pritchard (She/Her) of Thread Health - Spokane, WA

Direct Primary Care Doctor


Dr. Pritchard founded Thread Health in Spokane, WA
Dr. Jlyn Pritchard; Photo Credit: Dr. Pritchard

From Dr. Pritchard:

I’m Dr. Jlyn Pritchard – a Mom to 3 wild humans, wife to Jon, & Family Physician in Spokane, WA, practicing Integrative Family & Obesity Medicine. I dreamed of being a doctor when I was a kid & was inspired by my step-father’s dedication to the ER as a physician.


I attended Gonzaga University, then moved to West Virginia to attend the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine. During that time, my now-husband Jon served in the Army at Ft. Bragg. We lived in separate states (and countries, during his deployment) for the duration of medical school, finally moving in together over 3 years after we got married.


Residency was here in Spokane at a great community-based program that provided true full spectrum & rural training. I quickly found, however, that the landscape change that occurred in healthcare during my time in training meant that the life & practice I had envisioned for myself wasn’t exactly possible.


I made a commitment to myself my senior year of college that I would never lose my “art”. I wrote poetry in high school. In College, I ran a solo photography company in my spare time – a journey that continued through medical school & into residency. I discovered writing was cathartic for me during residency, helping me process all my experiences. It felt like ever-so-slowly, my creativity was being drained as I practiced medicine; or perhaps smothered by other things deemed more important.


Finding the possibility of DPC has restored some of that creativity. Restoration is going to look different for everyone. For me, right now it looks different than it did 5 years ago. And maybe that’s the beauty in all of this: evolution. DPC as a movement has seen the need in healthcare & stepped in to meet them; as an individual I’ve seen the gaps in my own life & made intentional changes to remedy them.


Thread Health just opened in October 2022. I’m a novice when it comes to experience here. But DPC has allowed me to find little bits of myself again, to lean into my values, & the inception of Thread has been the scariest, most satisfying decision in my career.


 

CONTACT/SOCIAL HANDLES:

Facebook: Jlyn Pritchard

Instagram: mamamedicinedropper, Thread Health

TikTok: JlynPritchard


 

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Transcript*

Well, Welcome to the podcast, Dr. Pritchard.


Thanks, Maryelle. It's great to be here.


So for the listeners Dr. Pritchard and I are recording under unusual circumstances called the Fall Season and Kids Getting Colds. And so my voice is definitely noticeably different. But it is such a pleasure to talk with you live time and for you to share your story because you've been so active in regards to the podcast, the attending, the fireside chats that we've had and just really you are a prime example of how a person can really harness the resources out there and reflect on those resources in terms of how those resources can actually help a person achieve their goals.


So again, it's super exciting to


talk with you. Thanks. I'm of fangirling right now too


love it. Love it. So, I wanna start just by asking how did you even find out about the podcast? Because that's how I feel like you and I really connected in terms of when you have been involved in the fireside chats and whatnot.


Yeah, I have a good friend from residency, DRN Baker. He owns Baker dpc. That's about 45 minutes away from me. And when I was in a life transition, which I think we'll probably get to later he and I chatted, We connect, we reconnected for the first time since residency, and he invited me to the DPC Docs Facebook group, which has been incredibly instrumental in my journey to this place.


I feel that illustration of one generation standing on the shoulders of another generation, I don't know if you are visualizing what I'm saying but there's a artist that interpreted it as, a little girl standing on the shoulders of her mom. Or you could extrapolate that to any situation.


And I honestly feel like that is the DPC Docs Facebook group. All of these forerunners that have gone before us have really paved the way in incredible and diverse ways for us to show up. As our true selves and allow us to do this with some bit of ease. So Dr. Baker was the first one that introduced me to the Facebook group.


And then I'm a big podcast fan and so I listen to this every week when I'm on a walk with my dog on Sundays . So I've been a pretty devout fan since the very beginning, and I think it's an amazing thing that we get to hear people's stories and relate to them in, a myriad of.


And I love it because, and I thought of this when preparing for this interview.


This is a little time capsule for yourself in terms of, when you're talking to medical students, residents, future partners, you can reflect on, wow, like this is exactly what a person, is supposed to be experiencing. Or, That was really hard for me. How did I get through that? And so I think that is overall the value of these podcasts in terms of even if a person listens to themselves three years later, they still are able to reflect.


And so I absolutely love that. You and so many others tune in. And so let's get started with your story. Now in terms of your exposure to dpc, there was life pre dpc and then there was life preparing for dpc. Yeah. So can you give the audience a little bit of a flavor as what's as to what was going on in those two at times in your.


Yeah, so my story I think is maybe a little bit different than a lot of people who have gotten burned out with a corporate culture of medicine. I was in residency here in Spokane and it was a pretty comprehensive full spectrum family medicine residency. We had rural rotations and I felt incredibly prepared for practice.


When I left. I had a baby, our first baby halfway through residency and at the same time there was a transition, a corporate, merger happening. And I literally left for maternity leave, which is 12 weeks. And I came back for maternity leave. And it was in some ways, like a completely different program that I was walking into prior to me leaving.


There were two major hospitals in town and they were friends. We had rotations in both locations. It was a very cordial relationship. We had a huge amount of community involvement. It was a very low key, It's like the wild west out here. And so there wasn't a dress code and it was a very chill, laid back program.


And I returned for maternity leave and I had a dress code on my desk that said that I couldn't wear Shoes showing my legs without nylons. And there was so many changes that I was like, I don't like this. And I made the decision pretty immediately to intentionally avoid non-competes and corporate medicine.


And I became a little bit of a core value for me that I was like, I need to hang on to what I knew before. Just because I loved how laid back and authentic everyone prior to that merger had been present. And so when I left residency, I joined a physician owned practice, which it was the ideal scenario.


We were actually operated by a larger corporation. So we had benefits and pay from them, but the actual operations on the day to day clinic side were all physician owned, physician run, and physician dictated. It was an incredible practice that essentially was made up of these small, independent, I call 'em cowboy doctors.


They were the first generation they were delivering babies and doing appendectomies and like rounding in the hospital and their incredible individuals. And they realized, post aca that their individual practices couldn't survive. And so they merged together and created what I was hired by.


And that was amazing. We ended up moving for my husband's job back to my hometown, which is in south central Washington State. And in the process of that, I faced, a dilemma because there were not many opportunities. And I ended up joining a private practice. So completely private, no corporate entities, no non-compete.


And it was an incredible learning and growing experience for me. And also very eye opening to the true. Side of medicine that is fee for service, right? Like massive overhead. Very much the feeling that, I was seeing 24 to 36 people in a 10 hour shift and just burning out like I was awake until 2:00 AM every day that I was working.


And we had our second baby, and then our third baby. And so it just was not sustainable for me. I watched in the four little over four years that I was there, my partner's incredible physicians just wither away as far as their motivation goes. And while I was there for the first time in my career, had the opportunity to exercise a little creativity muscle.


Very much pre covid. I started telemedicine for the clinic. I started group prep, group visits for the clinic. And there was a great acceptance of those things and it really got my wheels turning about healthcare innovation and how can we meet people where they're at while trying to manage the challenges of this fee for service structure.


Fast forward a couple of years and we decided again to move back to Spokane. My husband's job that we had moved forward didn&