Updated: Mar 5
Direct Primary Care Doctor
Dr. Brian Blank grew up in the small town of Waterford, PA, delivering newspapers before leaving for the midwest to study broadcast journalism at the University of Missouri. He then spent the next several years working in cable news in both Atlanta and New York. In New York, he met his wife and father-in-law, a longtime primary care physician at the Cleveland Clinic. After many late-night conversations with him, he decided to switch careers to pursue family medicine. After stops in Boston and Costa Rica, he moved to Chapel Hill, NC, where he completed medical school at UNC. He then did my residency in family medicine down the street at Duke University Hospital.
In 2021, he opened Ember Modern Medicine, a practice he had dreamt about for more than a decade. By eliminating overpriced insurance restrictions, he can spend more time connecting with my patients and focusing on their health and wellbeing instead of rushing through 7-minute visits checking government boxes.
Dr. Blank and his wife Laura are now blessed with two beautiful daughters. In his free time, he enjoys competing in endurance sports. He's run more than a dozen marathons, finished 2nd in a 50-mile ultramarathon, and barely survived an Ironman Triathlon. Lately, he's been attending Swamp Rabbit CrossFit. In 2021, he started a running streak, attempting to run at least one mile every single day.
In this Halloween episode, Dr. Blank shares his story of how his love for family medicine drove him to change careers and how, after ten years, he has finally opened his clinic Ember Modern Medicine. He shares about his buildout, his staffing and so much more in today's episode!
Resources Mentioned By Dr. Blank:
- Keylight Communications (Laura Blank's Company)
- Josh Umbehr Article on pricing
Website: Ember Modern Medicine
Welcome to the podcast, Dr. Blank.
Thanks for having me. This is great.
So like you said, in your intro, you have been wanting to do DPC for a long time and February of 2021 rolled around and you finally did it, you opened up your practice, you opened up Ember, modern medicine, and I want to ask.
Yeah. And I wanted to say congratulations for
first of all. Oh, so it's so exciting. And hopefully as we get more patients, they will also be excited. They'll share the enthusiasm
and I want to just say, if you haven't gone and seen Dr. Blanks, social media posts, please go check out his Instagram, because you can see that not only is his practice named under modern medicine, there are actual embers in the front of his building, which is pretty incredible.
It's true. We have some gas lanterns out there, which I think are really cool and we've turned the flame up as high as they can go. Just like in our hearts, it's the Ember of our hearts. It's blooming and blossoming. It's becoming this wildfire. It's going to take over healthcare as we know it,
That is what all of us are pulling for, for sure.
And what all of us are working towards every day with every patient. Now I want, I wanted to ask in terms of this idea that you had thought about DPC for the last 10 years, can you share with us, what was that experience like in terms of how did you come to learn about DPC and what things were you thinking about through the years as you worked your way towards opening?
That's a great question. Medicine was a career change for me. So I was originally in journalism. And when I made the decision to go into medicine, I knew I wanted to do primary care. I had met my wife and her father, who is a longtime internist, the Cleveland clinic, and was talking to him about what he liked about primary care and what I liked about journalism.
And we saw this sort of overlap. So we decided to, make the plunge, so switch careers. But I was trying to find a way to make primary care work because I was talking with so many folks and they were talking about, oh you're going into medicine. You've gotta be, an orthopedist or some specialist and do something really fun, but that's not really ever what I wanted to do, but I had trouble figuring out how is it feasible to do primary care?
Because it sounds like so many of, and this was 15 years ago, so many primary care docs out there were getting burnout. And we're leaving the field altogether just didn't make sense. But you had alone as a, like an early med student. I knew many of my classmates were going into medicine because they were really pumped about these ideas of primary care.
So it was through the North Carolina academy of family physicians. They had a program for folks who were interested in family medicine, where they basically gave us that first summer after first year, a bunch of opportunities to look into different types of. So I built this elective with their help and where I got to spend a few weeks with a bunch of different types of primary care practices, including a straight up concierge practice.
So I was at a MD VIP. I got to see a traditional private primary care practice spent some time with submit paeds docs and that sort of thing. And so we got to see how that worked part of a another, each completely independent doctor and then direct primary care doctor Brian forest in apex, North Carolina.
And it was at his practice that I first discovered or heard about primary care. And I thought, holy smokes, this is everything that I've ever thought you could get in primary care, basically all this time. It was just this amazing experience. It was this apifany like, aha, this is how it should be.
And he was, he'd been doing it at that time for at least 10 years. I couldn't believe it. There was no one else that I'd heard of who was doing it at the time. And and he had been doing it for so long and it was his vision, as a resident. And he went straight out of residency and opened it up and it's just been doing great ever since.
And so yeah, since I saw that, I knew, okay, this is what I need to do. We gotta find a way to make this happen. And so I've, yeah, I've spent pretty much every waking hour. It seems like over the last 10 or 12 years, daydreaming about making this work and it can work. And I'm so excited about it too, because.