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Episode 133: Dr. Adelola Ashaye (She/Her) of InTouch Primary Care - Sugar Land, TX

Updated: Jul 23, 2023

Direct Primary Care Doctor


Dr. Lola Ashaye of InTouch Primary Care
Dr. Lola Ashaye

Dr. Adelola Ashaye is a Board Certified Family Physician and Lifestyle Medicine Physician. Her interest in the medical field was first sparked when she was in high school, by her observation of a patient-doctor relationship.


Many years have passed since that interaction which took place at Alpena General Hospital in Michigan, and it is the desire to build and maintain meaningful long-lasting relationships that continues to draw her to medicine.


After graduating high school, she went on to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where she obtained a B.S. in Cognitive Science and Biopsychology. Then, she graduated from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago IL with a Medical Degree. She completed her residency in 2010 at MacNeal Family Medicine Residency, affiliated with the University of Chicago IL.




LINKS/RECOMMENDED RESOURCES:

For the LATEST in DPC News: DPCNEWS.com

InTouch Primary Care Website: HERE

Connecting the Dots with Dr. Ashaye: HERE


Books by: Dr. Adelola Ashaye



CONTACT:

Address: 2333 Town Center Dr, Sugar Land, TX 77478, United States of America

Phone: (713) 280-9985

Email: info@intouchprimarycare.com



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Transcript*


Direct Primary care is an innovative alternative path to insurance driven healthcare. Typically, a patient pays their doctor a low monthly membership and in return builds a lasting relationship with their doctor and has their doctor available at their fingertips. Welcome to the My DPC Story podcast, where each week you will hear the ever so relatable stories shared by physicians who have chosen.


Into practice medicine in their individual communities through the direct primary care model. I'm your host, Marielle conception family physician, D P C, owner, and former fee for service. Doctor, I hope you enjoy today's episode and come away feeling inspired about the future of patient care direct primary care.


I love D P C because it gives me the opportunity to care for my patients in the way that I think works best for them, and also gives me the opportunity to care for myself in the way I think works best for me. I'm Adel Sha. I'm a family medicine and lifestyle medicine doctor and owner of InTouch Primary Care in the Sugarland area, and this is my D P C story.


Dr. Ola is a board certified family physician and lifestyle medicine physician. Her interest in the medical field was first sparked when she was in high school by her observation of a patient-doctor relationship. Many years have passed since that interaction, which took place at Alpena General Hospital in Michigan, and it is the desire to build and maintain meaningful, long-lasting relationships that continues to draw her to medicine.


After graduating high school, she went on to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she obtained a BS in cognitive science and bio-psychology. Then she graduated from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago with a medical degree. She completed her residency in 2010 at McNeil Family Medicine Residency affiliated with the University of Chicago, Illinois.


Welcome to the podcast, Dr. Thank you. Thank you for having me. I'm so excited.

So we are recording this before the D P C summit, but I think it's so, so helpful that we moved your recording to from when it was previously supposed to be recorded to after the D P C summit, which is when it's airing because of what.


I'm gonna be asking you about and what you've been an expert about in your community, and that absolutely comes to becoming a doctor. It, it, it touches on be being a doctor, but not only being a doctor, but a doctor who's mindful of their own health as well as the health of their patients, just like you shared about in your opening statement.


So, with that, I want to start by reading. A quote that's on your website. And I wanna ask where this statement came from, because it's not every day that you read a statement like this on a physician's website, and it clearly points to the fact that you are an independent physician and not one that has a whole marketing team behind the corporation, uh, running your clinic.


So, would you mind reading the statement that I, I pulled out and highlighted for the audience? Absolutely sure. It says With the current health system today, people are forced to get care from so many different places, so they may forget how nice it is to have their own personal doctor, one that knows them well and is there when needed.


Such a powerful statement and such a powerful movement that we are all a part of, and patients are really finding that over and over and over in all in communities, all over the nation. Now, again, going back to how you as a doctor created this statement, I wanna ask what's the story behind that? Because we are very aware that if we don't have room in our fee for service clinic, the patient has to go to urgent care.


The patient has to go to er. But what was your life like where you were driven to write this statement in particular, and using this statement to highlight how your practice is different than the normal fee-for-service clinic?


Yeah, so I worked in various types of clinics before I started my own practice, and one of the things that really.


Frustrated me about that was I would see people come from different places or go to different places, even though I was their doctor. So for example, I'll see a patient with a cold or you know, and maybe it wasn't just a cold, maybe it became, it was sinusitis like, and because they couldn't. Follow up with me.


They went to an urgent care and then they got an antibiotic that maybe interacted with something. They were taken because they didn't get the full history. And then they come back maybe three months later and they tell me, oh, I was really sick, you know, a month ago. And I'm thinking, Why didn't you just contact me?


Oh, I couldn't get in. You know, and so because they're getting care from different places that care is disjointed and it isn't good care. It's like very simple things become complicated just because they're seeing different people and it plays out in so many different ways. It could be even seen a specialist and they didn't communicate all the medications they're taken.


And so I think people underestimate how. Important it is to follow up with the same person. You know, even though it may be convenient to go to all these different places, in the end, it really doesn't benefit the patient because so many things have missed, errors are are made, and it just oftentimes complicates things.


So, Haven't seen that a lot. I just, you know, that's where I came from. It's ironic because I was talking to a dear friend who's a D P C doctor, uh, on the East Coast, and she was saying today that literally all day today, it was like every single patient that she saw was, oh, I saw this. Fill in the blank person who's not my normal primary care and all day I have worked to fix the issues.


And so I know there's people in the audience who are absolutely empathizing with the journey that you've been through already and the journey that our patients are put through every day when they have broken care. And I cannot agree with you more that you know as primary care physicians. You know, I'm sure you do this too.


It's like you have to translate what the care plan was and then you have to, uh, it's almost like we have to be this, this gate checker to say like, whoa, whoa, whoa. No, no, no. We're not gonna do that. Like, that's not even okay. Because of who you are as a person. Like, I totally agree with you when you're talking about that.


It, it can absolutely lead to bad outcomes when it comes to also the time crunch that we're put under in fee for service. You miss nuances. Like if a person is not quick to think about an answer or if a person is an introvert, or if a person doesn't speak the same language you do as their first language, like you might not understand that I work in a tile factory and the dust is really what led to coughing because blah, blah, blah, you know?


So it's so important to have direct primary care continue to thrive, and I really, really love that. You know, on your website you're talking about, People having their personal doctor. I love saying that D P C is concierge medicine for the everyday, everyday American. You don't have to have, you know, a seven figure job to be able to have someone take good care of you and excellent care of you.


So when you talk about this, Experience of having seen patients have broken care? What was going on in your mind at that time in terms of, were you thinking about, gosh, you know, like I actually would be interested in seeing how I could do it on my own, because clearly you've done that, you've made that decision and you've become a successful business owner.


But what was starting in your mind as you continued to see these patients with broken care?

Yeah, so I think I just felt like I. It could be much better for the patient, and I started to question why I went into medicine. Honestly, like I thought I went in to help and I felt like I couldn't tell if I was really helping.


So that was frustrating for me because the follow up was not great, right? You have too many patients on your panel. It's really hard to keep track of who you know, you can't follow up effectively. So you are depending on them to get back to you to let you know what happened. And sometimes, you know, you don't hear anything for a year and then, and that doesn't mean nothing happened, it's just you didn't hear anything.


And when I heard about DPC I was like, oh my gosh, this makes so much sense. Like this is exactly what, how we should care for people. This is how I wanna be cared for, you know, where they know me. It's not based on whether or not I have, you know, health insurance or not. Or whether I have a job at the moment or not, it's based on a relationship with my doctor that I choose, not an insurance company choosing that.


So there were just so many things about that that just resonated with me and I was like, okay, within this model I can actually, this is what I signed up for when I was becoming a doctor. This is what I thought I signed up for. So it may it, it was like, okay, yeah, there is a way to prevent.


People from delaying their care, they're not, there is a way to help people have good care long-term, and a way to know that you're doing that because, you know, maybe with the fee for service care system I was, it wasn't clear to me always whether people were getting better or not because if they lost their insurance, for example, I.


And they're gone for, you know, I can't see them. I don't know, you know, so then that used to frustrate me a lot cuz I just never knew there were too many things in the way of providing the kind of care that I wanted to.


Absolutely. And when you started, you know, finding out about D P C and exploring the d p C business model, I, I wanna go back and highlight your experience as a, a person who was a, applying to medical school and, and getting into medical school because you, you just spoke about how, you know, it really doesn't matter, like, What insurance you is in your pocket, or if you don't have an insurance card, you're still a human being.


And the fact that you happen to live in the United States of America like you and I do, we can take care of you, um, and let's reduce barriers to do that. And so you, yourself though, faced barriers when it came to getting into medical school. That's something that Voyage Houston highlighted, um, in your interview for that, uh, publication.


But you talked about how. Just because of immigration status, not because of who you were as a physician. You know how your smarts nothing about anything other than your immigration status. You were limited to only applying to private schools, and then you further went on to comment about how it became an opportunity for you to learn from.


So can you talk about that? Because I think it really gives a unique perspective. You know, and I can see it on your website, how you give care to members. Sure. But you also give care to people who are guest members. And I, I really think that hearing your story is also most likely applicable to other people who are unfortunately experiencing that same discrimination.


And, and that's, there's no other word for it, but that discrimination of, because you're an immigrant with an immigrant status, you can only apply to X schools. Yeah, so it was good that I didn't know too much I think at the time, because I probably would've been discouraged, you know? So it was at the time I just, just accepted it as it was, like when I found out, okay, this is my, I came, I came here in high school, um, with my family and did part of high school here.


Got into college, did college here, and that was really expensive for the family. And here I was talking about medical school and then come to find out that, I could only go to private schools, so, but I just, you know, accepted it and I figured that I've come this far and I'm just gonna keep going. And so when I, and yeah, you're right.


When I was coming up with a practice, one of the things that happened a lot when I was in FIFA service where people will reach out to me, oh, my parents are in town. I don't know where to take them. Can I come over? And I'm like, yeah, you can come. But I just don't know how much it's gonna be. Because it's not my practice.


I work for, you know, a fee for service health institution. They will charge you whatever they charge. I have no control over that. And sometimes it was hard for them to understand that. We, we, I'm like, I just get paid a salary. That's it. I, I just work here. That's it. You know? So with starting my practice, it was just, I just knew I had to, from the beginning, like I had to provide care for.


People cuz there are a number of people that just don't have any access. It's really, really, really expensive for them to have access to quality care. And that has really, really been, it's a very enjoyable part of my practice actually. So two international patients today. And it was, you know, there's, it's just always so much fun and it's also, I believe, very helpful for them.


So it, it's very fulfilling. Well, and I can imagine, you know, with. The way that our culture is. So eight to five people are so stressed out all the time coming from another country where that is not the pace of life. Um, and there are a lot of countries on this globe where that is not the pace of life.


Even if it's, you know, first, second, third world countries, you see that we are a unique fill in the blank beast country, whatever you wanna say. So when you talk about these international guest members, what types of things did you. See in their care that you, you know, as a primary care doctor, zoomed out on, got to, you know, get all the, the details for and, and work on so that they can still understand what they're dealing with, but also take that understanding back and continue to get help back from where they're coming from, where they're visiting from.


Yes. Yeah, and that, that's a great question. So a lot of it too is just the healthcare system here is complex for a lot of people, you know, and just being somebody that has been through the healthcare system here and understands how things work. Just being able to explain that to people that are guests here make a big, makes a big difference because they don't understand how things work and so sometimes they spend a lot of money on things that they shouldn't, you know, spend money on.


I had, for example, I. A patient that spent $500 on a lab that if they did it with us, would've spent $43. I mean, it was like basic labs, but they went to a big lab corporation and spent all that money on, you know, so things like that, you know, even simple things like medication discounts, they may not be aware of that.


Just navigating the system is a big part of what we help with. So that's one big thing. The other thing is health education. And that's something that they can take back with them. We try to be clear about, okay, these are the conditions you have. Do you understand why? And we have the time. That's beauty of D P C, right?


These are the conditions. Do you know why you're taking this medication? Do you know who put you on it? How long? I, you know, sometimes we find very interest. I mean, I've seen patients that add. On, uh, COPI Grill, for example. And there isn't a clear reason why they're on it and they've been taking it and you're like, um, oh, the pharmacist, some random place told me to start taking it.


And, you know, some, a lot of prescription medications and de depending on the country, I not prescription over there. So people just take all kinds of things. So health education is a huge part of it. Just being able to spend the time to go in detail about their conditions, why they're doing different things, and explaining how to go forward from there.


Amazing. And you know, I, I can, I can hear it because I think about when I. Have been in situations where, and mostly overseas when I think of, of what I'm about to say, but where when a person understood what they were being treated for or, you know, the solution to their problem, how the solution works for their body, it starts the, the word of mouth.


You know, talking with their friends, talking with their communities, and I've seen people because of one person being educated, the rest of the community is asking questions differently to affect their, he healthcare differently in a better way. So I love that. You know, like you said, the beauty of D P c, one of the, the value propositions that we love as physicians and our patients absolutely love is that we have time.


We have the time that we need whatever that entails to spend with our, our patients, and we get valued for it because we're compensated like, You and I are getting paid. Doing this interview. Amen. Um, I love that. Yeah. So another thing that I want to highlight is you are a black physician. And so, you know, being that we've just talked about discrimination in a way where discrimination existed as to what medical schools you could apply to.


And I just, it's unbelievable saying that out loud in 2023. But as a black physician, there are 2% of physicians that are black physicians and that is also. Su such a shame in 2023 to say that like as a Philippina, you know, I'm a nurse, obviously I'm a nurse in 2023. Like there's all of these problems in our healthcare system that we see in Fever service.


But then there's also problems when it comes to representation. My five-year-old said to me, guys are doctors and girls are nurses? And I was like, oh. Asher, we're gonna have a conversation. Yes, but you know when, when you look back and already you've opened your D P C, you're talking to people about opening their practices and business.


We'll get to this and like I'm dropping all the little, little crumbs because I'm so excited to talk about it. But I mean, you just did it. You just did it right. And that's like, that's what I love about D P C that empowers. Any of any physician to say like, yeah, and I can do that too. If I can go to medical school, I can do this.


But especially speaking from your experience as a black physician, especially to those members in the audience who are also black physicians or black medical students or residents, what did you pull from your experience to be able to, you know, put you in a place where you're like, yeah, I'm black and I'm a D P C doctor and I'm a mom, and I'm all these things.


And that's, that's a fact. Like period, end of sentence. So, Yeah, no, definitely. So there is discrimination, you know, that's unfortunately the reality that we live in. And I think several things have helped me, I think, um, along the way. I mean, I'm originally Nigerian and I grew up partly in Nigeria, and, uh, just being around.


Different types of people. Nigeria. Nigeria is a very diverse country in of itself. Not in color, but in culture. So the cultures are very, very diverse. And I grew up in different parts of the country. I was in the north first and then moved to the south where I'm actually from. And I think just understanding that people are different from a very young age.


And also having a big family. I know you have a big family too, so you introduced to a lot of personalities when you have a big family. I don't have a big immediate family, but I have a big extended family that I'm very close to and um, just being around different types of characters growing up, so you learn that people are different.


So I think that actually really helped. And so when I moved here as a teenager, I. I moved to Alpena, Michigan, which is a very small town in Michigan, and it was 99.9% white. Like literally, there were three of us in my high school of 3000 that were black, so that was an experience, but I actually just saw them as different people.


Like I didn't even, you know, I just was like, oh, these are all people that are just different from me and I know how to live with people that are different. And I didn't overthink it, so that helped. And then college, I went to a very diverse college as well. I think those experiences helped just being.

Introduced to different people from different cultures and all of that. So I tended to just see things as, look, people have their opinions about things and what is most important to me is my opinion about me. So I didn't over think it much, I just kept going. And I think it's important if someone else is listening to this and.


You would get discouraged. People did discourage me along the way, but having people around you, more, people around you that are encouraging helps a lot. So making sure that you protect, you find that inner circle that you can draw encouragement from is huge. Like don't surround yourself. With people that cannot encourage you, like you need to move away very quickly.


So that really helps. And then the other thing is for me was just many times in my life I pause and ask myself, what do I really want? You know? And with all the big decisions I've made, that's kind of how I do it. I don't always know how, like I didn't know how I was gonna get to even university. My, my college.


I just figured, okay, where do I really wanna go? And I literally applied to one college from high school. And that was it. And I, you know, thank God I got in, but really it was, I, I tend to be very honest with myself. I just sit down, think about it, try to really come to what do I really want? And when I figure it out, I just, you know, I'm a person of faith as well.


I pray about it and I just go for it. And I don't know how it's gonna work out, but I just believe it will. And thank God it, it does so. It's, it's so inspiring to hear that and I love that you were doing that at even a young age, right? Like I consider high school and college a young age, cuz I'm like, oh, that was all quite a couple decades ago.


But, you know. Yeah, that's a while ago. Yeah. Yeah. But I love that from a young age because we see people, you know, especially influenced by social media, this idea that, you know, my relevance is determined by others and not by myself. And so I think that's a very, very salient. Thing to, to highlight from your past that that is what you, you know, the mindset you had along your journey as this woman who is a physician with her own D P C.


So, with that, I, I wanna go back into this place of you were, you know, thinking about it, it could be done differently. I could do it differently. I'm definitely better than what I'm able to provide in the fee for service clinic. Was there a moment where you said, you know, I've, I've been learning about D P C, but man, this is, this is the day, like I'm making this decision.


Um, let me ask you that first and then I'll, I'll ask you a follow

up question to that. Sure. Yeah. So it happened really quickly because I decided, I learned about it probably about October of 2019. So that was the first time I, and that was actually, I was researching how can a doctor practice differently.


I literally went on Google. I was like, what are my options here? Because it's either, I'm not doing this anymore, you know? So I was just researching and I. Just stumbled across some people doing different things. And I called up some doctors, uh, from the blue. I emailed them first and they agreed to talk to me, which was awesome.


And then I was able to start gathering information. And by December, you know, I talked to my husband about, in November, I took a few days to just really like, think about it, make sure that this was the way we're going. And he was all on board. He saw that, you know, I needed something differently. And by December we.


Right at the L l C. So we just, you know, kept going. By February, we found a space, like he helped me when, and found a space we had to renovate the space and then Covid hit, of course. So, so we were, that was when we paused and we're like, huh, okay, we had the space. It needs to be renovated. Should we go ahead?


Should we stop? Should we, you know, like it was, so we waited until about may. Before we decided, you know what, let's just do it. So the renovations took up till August and then we opened in September. And throughout that whole time I was just learning more buying equipment, getting the clinic set up and everything.


So it actually was, you know, a blessing that I had the time during Covid to do a lot of the setup. But yeah, it was, it was one of those things that we just had to. Go in faith. So

I love it. And the follow-up question I had was, as you spoke about your experience in, you know, believing in yourself and doing things because they were in alignment with your why and having a community around you to support you and what you're doing.


Um, you mentioned your husband. Were there other people, other, you know, fellow physicians or fellow moms, fellow family members who were also supporting you? Yes. Or not supporting you, and what were the conversations like between October and December? Because you know, culturally in this, in this country, D P C is not a, it's not like the default thing people go to when they think about options in healthcare.


Right. Yeah. So you know, I am very, very fortunate. I have a very supportive family. I think maybe cuz from a young age I've been kind of independent. I didn't realize I was, but my brothers tell me that all the time. I have two brothers, but you know, I just, but. They tend to just, you know, if they just say, are you sure that's what you wanna do?


And as long as you have a plan of some sort, they were very encouraging. So both my husband's family and my family, they were all like, yeah, do it. You know? So that really helped, you know, having them back me up. And I'll say, in terms of other docs, Definitely the D P C community is so fantastic. Oh my God, so helpful.


People are always, you know, the Facebook group people are just so super helpful while dm, some people ask questions within the group and you know, people were just so, so, so helpful. So that was huge, a huge support. Now one of the things, I didn't talk too much about it with other people that I thought might not be.


On the same page, and I think that's the better way to go. If you are trying to do something and it's new, it's better to not share it with people that are going to discourage you, especially if you've decided that that's what you're gonna do. Right. So for you may maybe my other doctor friends that maybe would not quite get it, I just.


Didn't say anything until it was done, like, so I think that also helps. But yeah, discouraging things. I think the most, I don't, nobody really said anything specifically, but I mean, sometimes people might wonder like, why are you, you know, and you just explain. But I, I tried not to get into it too much with people that I thought would not understand.


This is jumping forward a little bit, but. When you are around groups of physicians who are not D P C, do you find yourself just like telling the whole world about what you're doing? Yeah. You're shaking your head, which is awesome. Do you ever find yourself though, like. I I, the, the reason I ask this is because I was at a, a state conference where there were people from all over California, and I was like, please, like, please, where are my D P C people?


Afterwards, I remember I was like voice messaging people and being like, someone talked to me, hus saying, because this is crazy. I can't stand this. Like, I may have mentioned this in a podcast before, but there was a doctor who said, I know the way to change something. You stay there long enough and you outlast everyone else.


And I was like, okay, where are my D P C people? So I, I don't know if that's your experience now where you're just like, oh, I found the way to practice medicine. Let me tell you

about it. Yes, I've converted a few people actually. So it's a, it's a conversion. Like I, you know, I definitely let all those that you know know and all those that, because a lot of physicians are burnt out, you know, they're just completely burnt out and some of them don't even know that this is an option.


And so I do, I do definitely spread the word when I talk to other physicians that are interested. I honestly think it depends on, The physician, right? Some physicians are, you know, they thrive in the before service world and they enjoy it, and that's. What they wanna do. And you know, that's fine. But there are many physicians that would benefit from D P C and they don't even know about it, or they may think it's not possible.


So sharing my experience, definitely. I, I, I, um, there's a better way. Come, come join us. Yeah.

And this is why it's so important that you are sharing your story in a longer form on this podcast because people need to hear, because just like you said, and I totally agree with you, they need to know that it is an option.


Like, I think about it like, Women can vote because it's an option, right? Like, we used to not be able to vote, but now we can. So it's like, I, I said that to somebody, you know, that, who was saying, well, that's a, that's a really hard uphill battle to fight. And I'm like, yeah, it's worth fighting every single minute of it.


Mm-hmm. Because we are positively changing healthcare and positively making a change in how healthcare is. Paid for so that we are not, you know, bankrupting our patients left and right for things like a lot that costs $500. It's insane. No, but people don't know. So we are giving people as well as physicians, the choice to know about a different way.


And so, you know, with that, I definitely encourage people if they have the ability to speak to others, whether they're medical students, residents, physicians, fellow physicians, people who are, you know, wanting to do a little bit of locums even though they're in retirement. Like there's ways for everyone to.


Who is a physician to be able to participate in this movement if they wish to. But that's an option. And you know, it is, it is absolutely a thing like people don't even know it's an option. I spoke at, again, this the same, uh, statewide conference that I was at, and people didn't even know that D P C was an option.


I got a few like, oh, that's like concierge. But there were most people, even leadership at this organization that did not even really grasp. How big D P C is as a movement. Mm-hmm. So wherever you are, there are people around you who will want to hear about D P C, whether that be patients, people who are building D P C into health plans or fellow physicians.


Absolutely. So definitely just, you know, spread the word, keep spreading the word because this is how we, we grow and this is how we bring D p C to more and more communities. So with that, you talked about how, you know, you were coming from, how, how you pulled from your background to start developing and touch primary care.


So can you bring us back to, you know, the, the time that you had because of the pandemic to be able to really hone in on personalizing your clinic. How did you want to build your clinic from the get go? Especially because, You are a mom of two girls who are twins as well as a, a son and being, you know, a wife and a mom and a doctor and all the things, it's a lot of hats to wear.


So how did you craft your clinic so it would continue to work for you? So that's a great question, and I think that's a question a lot of people that, uh, considering D P C struggle with, because we're talking about personalized care, concierge like care. And you can text, call, email me, and some people start to, you know, have palpitations.


Like, what, what does that mean? Like when do I sleep? And things like that. And so that was one of the first things I knew from the get-go that I must put boundaries around and make sure that I set it up in a way that I would get right back to where I started from and feel like I was pointing out.

Backstory before D P C, all the jobs I worked, I've al always had Fridays off, so that was just something that I, the first time it happened, actually, it was offered to me and I was actually a little bit upset, honestly, when it was offered, they said, oh, we only have space for four days right now. In a few months you can be full-time.


And I was like, Yeah, okay. I'll take it. You know that with some resistance. But then I loved it. I was like, oh, this is awesome. It was a faculty position when I was back in Chicago and when they then offered me full-time, I was like, no, that's okay. I'll just stay as working, you know, four days a week. So when I moved to Texas, I asked for, I negotiated that.


I said I wanna work only four days so that I can continue to have my Fridays off. And with the twins, that was huge. That was time for me. Take care of things around the house, take care of me, take care of them, all of that. So when I was opening my practice, I had that decision to make. I said, okay, what am I gonna do?


Do I want to? Continue that or not, and I struggled with it a little bit, but I back to what do I really want? What is the purpose of the practice? You know, I had to really think about, and I said, I don't wanna set it up in a way where I'm gonna burn out eventually, so I'm gonna put some boundaries in place from the get-go.



So that was one of the things I did. I just made my office hours. Monday through Thursday, and I figured it may not work for everybody, but it will work for some people. And that was that. And so, you know, I just came to peace with, with certain things. And then I also put things in place where I let patients know.


After hours, what it was like. Like, okay, yes, you can call, text and email me, but if it can wait till the next business day, I truly appreciate that because it's all about if I'm well then I can care for you better. So just helping people understand that, yes, we wanna be here for you in case something does happen, but.


Don't, you know, if you overuse it or use it in a way that doesn't work, it's not going to work for all of us in the end. So, and most people, uh, understand that. I think, you know, they're just happy that they can actually reach us in the first place. So it, it that, that, I think that's a very important thing when setting up the practice self.


And Curtis is thinking about G P C to really think about what they want their schedule to look like from the get-go and make it like that. In the beginning, it might make it, maybe growth might be a little bit slower initially because you're doing that, but it's harder to pull back. So it's, I figured I would just set it up the way I wanted it set up from the get-go and then go from there and it's, I'm, I'm very happy I did that.


And I will highlight here that, you know, as I was researching your history and things that you've put out there in the world, interviews and whatnot, one of the things that I was so excited to come across was that you have a book, it's called Planning Mommy. For those people who are not, uh, aware yet, there's a link to it in your blog post accompanying this podcast.


But can you talk to us about, you know, Your experience, I'm sure, driven by having two kids the exact same age and bringing, you know, planning Mommy and this mindset of how to plan things to your D P C as you were setting your schedule to fit into Monday through

Thursday. Yes, absolutely. So that, I love talking about that, about moms and being a mom and everything.


So I was thrown into it, right, with having twins, beautiful twin girls when I was in, uh, that was within my first job. So it was a really good job and I enjoyed it. Then it was, you know, I was faculty in a residency program, in my residency program, so that was. Really, you know, I knew everybody there. It was nice and all of that, but I knew once the twins came, that things changed quite a bit.


And one of the things I had to do was to put things in place very early on so that we could. Be okay as a family dealing with two, two young children. And so what really helped me was scheduling and planning ahead. And that's what I talk about in planning Mommy. Like what I realized was a lot of times we spent so much time thinking the same thoughts over and over again.


And if we just consolidated that, Thinking and put it on paper and organize things so that we can do the thinking once and for all and then just not have to think as much. It makes such a big difference. So one of the examples I'll share quickly in planning Mommy is a food schedule. Just something that simple made a huge difference for us where I know what we're eating.


Monday through Friday, Sunday, basically, it's on the schedule. Everybody knows what we're eating, so it's not a matter of what are we eating on my way back home from work. It's already on the schedule. Everybody knows it so that anybody can help too, which was huge. So if a parent was there at the time, or we had a nanny or whatever it was, everybody was on the same page so that if I was running late or whatever, Everything was independent on me.


They could start dinner, they could help me because they knew exactly what I wanted and they could help me the way I wanted to be helped. So I think just organizing makes a difference, a huge difference. And I, I did learn a lot of, of that from my mom too. My mom was very organized when growing up. And then I, I hope I've passed it on to my, to my kids.


So, yeah. That's awesome. And when you organized your days, On that Monday through Thursday schedule, did you start out with what your clinic looks like today in terms of, uh, slots for acute visits or physicals, or has it changed?


So, you know, Hmm. That's a, I'm not sure it's changed so much. What I've done a lot of times is I try to leave spaces open so I know exactly what I want to do with family and all of that.


So I put that, and I have a weekly calendar now, which helps. So I know what I wanna do. I put my priorities on the calendar first. And block those times. And then everything else is, you know, I kind of try to keep it open, especially during my office hours where pa you know, if a patient was put in, it wouldn't be a problem.


And that that has worked pretty well. We can usually get people in one way or the other, and if not, we can do a video or phone or something until we can get them in if they need to come in. So it's worked pretty well that way. That's great. And one of the things that you've talked about, I believe this is on your YouTube channel, connect the dots where you were talking about maximizing telemedicine and when it comes to telemedicine and efficiency, do you have tips to share with the audience as to how you envision a telemedicine visit and what's its purpose versus an in-person visit and how you maximize the time for both of those so that they work together?


Yes, absolutely. So Covid actually was a great lesson in telemedicine. We found out there's a lot we can do with video visits and, um, while during Covid, one of the things I did for Locums was I did telemedicine and that was really helpful because I learned a lot of my limits, like what can be done. We had no choice.


Right At that point, I learned a lot about what can be done with video visits and what. Probably people should come in for. And within D P C, telemedicine is great because of the ability to follow up in person and the ability to check up on people to make sure that whatever advice or recommendations were worked right.


So I think within D P C, telemedicine is like perfect pretty much because you can follow up and you can make sure. Outside of D P C, I'm a little bit more cautious for sure because if you are not able to make sure whatever recommendations you made were worked, then that could backfire somehow. You may never know it.


Right? So within D P C, very nice and uh, I think patients really like it cuz I would say, Hey, you have this symptom. It sounds like this. I think this is what it is. Why don't we do this? For a few days, see what happens. If it doesn't get better, make an appointment. Come in. And we're both comfortable because they know they can actually get in to see me at the time that we said, and they know that if things change before that, they can text me, call me, and we can change the plan.


So it's it, it makes all the difference. So within D P C, telemedicine is, So great because it also gives room for other people that may need to come in, and that's how we create time for others, right? Because when we take care of the things that can be cared for over the phone with the video, and we do it conveniently for us and the patient.


Then we have more time for those patients that need that one-on-one time with us, longer, um, time with us and we can truly take care of them. So it's, it's just the perfect system within D P C I tell you.

Couldn't have said it better. That is absolutely. What patients and physicians in D P C experience every single time, and even if a person's been doing it for five years, it's like, oh man, remember those days?


And we had to have you come in for the magic code to review your labs no more. Like we can literally just do these things over telemedicine, but you're so right in that, in a different model, in fee for service in particular. That way of managing a patient, maximizing telemedicine where we can, and then having a person come in is not the same because of that continuity of care not being there.


So I, I think that's a very, very good thing to point out. It's interesting because, you know, we were talking earlier about the different options of, of care and knowing that DPC is an option. There is, uh, quite a few residents who I've talked with recently who are like, oh, I'm gonna be a hospitalist. I'm a family medicine doctor.


I'm gonna be a hospitalist, because they think that. They can set their own schedules and have continuity, uh, in clinic with patients. And I'm like, you can tr definitely, that's, if you wanna do that option, experience that as an option, and then you'll realize that, you know, that's not typically the case in as a hospitalist doing inpatient and then, uh, clinic medicine.


So that continuity absolutely matters when we talk about your clinic being, you know, Open during the pandemic you were growing and. Incorporating your ability to, to be a planner into your clinic and being able to maximize telemedicine. I, I wanna go to direct Primary Care in the, in the Houston and Greater Houston area because for those of you, and I totally Dr. Googled this before, uh, we got on, I was like, where's Sugarland? Okay, there's Sugarland. So. Without traffic. Uh, Dr. Google claims it's 29 minutes from Houston proper. So we've had so many Houston area doctors on the podcast, and to me it screams. That D D P C is so needed that, you know, it's not a competition to have a D P C open, like in Dr. Eric Young's case across the parking lot where Dr. Kde is practicing, uh, pediatrics where you are in Sugarland. Can you tell us about your population, what's unique to the culture of Sugarland in particular, and who has joined your practice because of your uniqueness as a physician in your D P C?


Yes. So yeah, Houston, the Houston area is huge and the thing about 29 minutes in Houston, that's not much because people are used to commuting a lot within the Houston area everywhere since so far from each other.


So it's E, some people commute an hour and hour, an hour and a half. To work and that's just Houston area. But yes, definitely being in Sugarland, that was one of the things I wanted to do. I wanted to be, because that was, I, um, the practice that I came from was close to, not in Sugarland, but close to Sugarland area.


And a lot of the docs I had relationships with. We're in the Sugarland area, and then Sugarland is well known in the Houston area. So when you say Sugarland, most people know where that is, if they are from the Houston area. So I want it to be a place like that where people will not feel like it's too far.


Or two. Two outer rich or, or, or that, or that sort of thing. So that was important for me. Also in the Sugarland area, it's a very diverse area too, and I love that I, you know, the fact that there are people from so many different cultures there in that one area. So in Houston General is like that, honestly, but I was more familiar with Sugarland.


It's not too big. There's parking, you know, like it's. It's, it's like a, a, a busy suburb, you know, it's, it is it, to me it's just like, it's convenient for a lot of people to go there. People usually don't like going in Houston because of traffic and all that, but they would like to come to Sugarland because it's, you know, there's stuff going on, but there's space for com.


It's convenient. So all those things were taken into consideration and I love that for my clinic. It's right there. You can drive right up to it. You just walk right in, like no stairs, no elevators, no. You know, it's just, that was part of the convenient care that I wanted to offer. So it all tied in well.

That's great. And as you were opening to now, who has joined your practice and how did they find you?


So a lot of people joined by word of mouth. So you know, I just had people that would say, maybe I was their doctor in the past, and they're like, oh my God, I was looking for you. And so they find me that way and then they tell their family members and.


That sort of thing. So that's one way. The other way we found people is that definitely with the international care thing, that was a big part of how people find me too. I'm also part of Business Networking International. I've been part of that for a little over a year, and part of that was business owners.


I saw that there was definitely a need for business owners cuz a lot of. Business owners don't have access to affordable healthcare and many of them would delay their care. And you know, it just dawned on me that as a business owner, you work so hard. Like now, me being a practice owner, you work so hard to build your practice and then you don't want, at the end of all that, then your health be the reason why you can't enjoy the fruits of your labor.


It just seems so wrong. So I wanted to. You know, be a resource for, for that community as well. So that's, um, with b and i, I've had people come from there. Let's see, what else? Word of mouth is huge. Like for my church. I, I've had people come from there, family and friends, that would probably, those are my biggest.


I, I, I think that's where most of my people come from. I think that's so cool though, because, They know you as a doctor, like they know you are a doctor and then they know you as a person. And so the ability to have a doctor who is that person that they know from church or, you know, outside of a clinic, I'm assuming that it, it adds to having a relationship.


You know, a physi a patient physician relationship quicker in terms of, you know, patients being open with you about their health needs and whatnot than somebody who they might not have known before. So that's, that's very, very cool. Do you ever barter for things like, yeah, like, we'll do a visit for a family member if, if you can help me with my, you know, window panelings or anything like that.


Do you ever, do you ever barter.


I don't, I haven't done that yet. I haven't done that yet with, I'm trying to think if there has been an opportunity. There probably have, have been opportunities for that, I'm sure. But I just haven't done that yet. That's cool.


I, I, I thought I'd, I had asked that just because of that, you know, familiarity with you as a person, um Right.


As well as a doctor. So let me ask you this, knowing that you are part of B Nni and just knowing that, you know, From a young age, again, you've been driven by what, what works with you and what do you want out of life? You have been doing talks in your community that are not, you know, like I'm, you know, Dr. I show you talking about the. Heart. I am. I'm talking about tax deductions and maximizing tax deductions and reducing stress and staying healthy as a business owner like those are. When I saw that, I was like, that is awesome. I totally would've gone to those because it's not just a doctor talking about doctor things, it's a doctor talking about being a business owner and taking care of yourself and I, I think that that is, that was just so, like, I was not expecting to read that when I was reading your advertisements for those, uh, lunch library talks. So can you tell us about, you know, how you envisioned having a lunch talk that highlighted those topics in particular versus something like a medical talk and how did you become an expert amongst the b and i group to be able to say like, yes, as a physician, as an entrepreneur, These are the, the ways to incorporate the topics that I'm talking about into your businesses.


Yeah, so I think the first thing is when I was in the fee for service system, one of the things that bothered me was people that wanted to go into business and did not because of their concern about what will happen to their healthcare. So I'm sure I, you know, I'm sure you've come across that I had several patients who wanted to open their own business and they were maybe very miserable in their current job, but they didn't wanna quit because of the healthcare benefits.

And so they, you know, they just didn't know that there was another option for them. And so, When I started the D P C did take me a little while to connect that, oh wait, I can serve these people too. These business owners are perfect for B Nni cuz of the flexibility, the convenience, the affordability.


They're just so many reasons why I feel like business owners, this is perfect for them and people delay their care a lot. And of course, you know that causes. So many complications in the long run. And so I wanted to explain it in a way that a business owner will get it. Where we're not talk, you know, when you start talking about diabetes, hypertension, whatever, sometimes they just don't feel like in connects to, because I don't have diabetes yet.


How do you know? Well, you never checked to, you know, your last blood work was five years ago, so they don't connect to that, right? Because they are not thinking about that. But when you talk about stress, You know, when you talk about money, the that language they understand because that's something they come across every single day in their life.


And the truth of matter is having good health is not necessarily the end. Goal. I mean, you can have good health, but if you don't do anything, it's kind of like, what is the point? Right? So at the end of the day, people wanna have good health, not just to be healthy, but just so that they can enjoy their lives so that they can fulfill their dreams, right?


And so just trying to connect that for people that, yes, it's all related, it's all connected. You need good help to be able to. You know, do that business. You need good health to be able to fulfill that dream, and this is how you can get there. Let's talk about how to reduce your stress. Let's talk about how to eat better.


Let's talk about how you save money. You know, and I, with some of the talks that I do, I collaborate with other experts. Like with the tax one, I did collaborate with the tax expert to talk about. Two business owners, and that was helpful because I was talking about stress and sleep and things that they had money and they were, she was talking about this is how it can help you, you know, with tax deductions and things like that.


So I think just helping business owners make make the connection was what I was trying to do. And how was the outcome? You know when when people heard you talk and and share your expertise and your stories, what was the reaction that you got from those attendees?

So I think people were happy to hear it.


I think. We don't talk about that enough. And one of the thing I should say, I'm also lifestyle medicine board certified. So lifestyle medicine, being a foundation of health is huge. So sleep proper, adequate sleep, you know, plant predominant nutrition, uh, stress reduction, physical activity, all that stuff.


So, Talking to people about that and sharing how that can help improve their quality of life, which translates to improving their businesses. I think people really like that. And I do a little like evaluation, like self-evaluation that I came up with about where they are and they take that assessment and so it also gives them an idea of how am I doing my sleep, how am I doing my stress, how, you know, we make it fun and we have conversations around that.


So it was very well received.


That's great. And when it came to the questions after your talk, did people ask you, how do I join your practice? Like how, how do I talk about this even more?


Yes. So people always, I think with D P C, right, because it's so innovative and many haven't heard about it before. So yes, they definitely came to ask me about the practice and actually I got another invitation for.


From, for a talk after that where I was talking about pretty much similar thing to another group of business owners and, you know, that was a paid invitation. So sometimes it, it leads to different things. That was a very unexpected thing where other people wanna hear it, people wanna hear how they can. Be healthy and you know, thrive in their businesses.


And even if they were, some people, you know, some people are interested in becoming patients and some just want to spread that word to other business owners. So there are many ways that it impacts people.


That's awesome. And, and all of that is collectively going to, you know, change what the culture around them is hearing, just like we were talking about earlier.


So I, I absolutely love that. And with you, you know, and I, I'm glad that you mentioned that you are boarded in lifestyle medicine. With you having this expertise and the time to give your patients, how do you value yourself differently now than in fee for service? Because I, I think about like, you know, if, if you're invited to a talk and someone's asking you, what, what are your honorarium fees or what are your, you know, what is your monetary value?


I struggle to find people who understand what their value is, what they're bringing to the table, whether that be for monetary gig or not, prior to when they opened their own D P C. Mm-hmm. So I wanna hear your take on that. Yeah. So a lot of times with D P C, right, especially when you come from fee for service where you're not exposed to the financial piece quite as much, right?


And then now you are exposed to it and you're paying bills, real bills, right? So it changes how you see things. And I think. Definitely since I started my D P C, I've evolved a lot in how I value my services. I think I've started to see how much impact it makes and how people are getting better, they're getting better results, and so that has changed how I value my services and even.


Confidence in how I talk about it to people and explaining to them that this is a better way. Like not in a, you know, just that's what it is. That's what it shows, that when we care for you in this way, better outcomes. Right? And so, It takes away the, I think after you do it for some time, you, there's a confidence that you have because you've seen it work.


So that's, that's, uh, a piece of it. And then in terms of, you know, when I do present to larger groups and things like that, that too, where I value my time a lot more where I'm not like, oh, I think in the past there are probably some talks I'll be like, oh no, no, don't worry about it. You know, like, I, because it comes naturally, right?


Some of these topics seem so simple, right? Because we do it every day. But, you know, just understanding that my time is valuable, you know, and I think that's one of the biggest things that in going my practice and even just trying, making sure that I'm not, I'm there for my family too. I've been much more.


Intentional about how I, how I use my time, and making sure that I value my time. Because when we value our time, then others value our time. But when we don't, then others don't. That's just how it works. So I've learned to value my time.


Incredible. And I just think about the other physicians who you have inspired sharing your story.

Who might be, you know, learning how to value themselves differently, even if they've already opened their D P C. So with that, thank you so much Dr. Hai for sharing your story

today. So, Oh, thank you. I'm really happy to be here, Marielle. Thank you so much for having me. And you know, I wanna say this is a wonderful podcast.


I mean, I've listened to a lot of the docs here and that was part of my inspiration, learning, listening to a lot of the docs that have come on here and talked, talk about this story. And that has inspired me and I'm so excited that I get to be one of them now. It's like, you know, a dream for me, honestly.


So thank you for doing what you do. You're making a. Big difference in the lives of doctors and we truly appreciate it. Thank you.


Before I stop, did you wanna add anything in particular that we missed? Well, I would say this, if there's a doctor out there that is thinking about D P C, do it. It's, you know, you, you can do it.

You can do it. Just if that's what you wanna do. Don't let fear stop you. Yes, you may not have all the answers now. You may not even know how, but you can do it, so do it.


Next week look forward to hearing from Dr. Tammy Singh of Aspire Health Implantation, Florida. If you've enjoyed the podcast and you haven't yet done so, subscribe today and share the episode with a physician you may know who needs. To hear about dpc, leave a five star review on Apple Podcast and on Spotify now as well as it helps others to find all these DPC stories.

Lastly, be sure to follow us on social media. If you're wanting to continue learning more about dpc in the meantime, check out DPC news.com. Until next week, this is Marielle consumption.




*Transcript generated by AI so please forgive errors.

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