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Episode 91: Dr. Aleea Gupta (She/Her) of Family First DPC - Hinsdale, IL

Direct Primary Care Doctor


Dr. Gupta is in her clinic, Family First DPC
Dr. Aleea Gupta

Dr. Aleea Gupta is a board-certified family physician who completed her undergraduate education at Duke University, medical degree at University of Florida and residency at Overlook Hospital/Columbia University. She has worked in multiple settings in the past 25 years, including as an assistant professor at the University of Southern California, as a partner physician at Southern Permanente California Medical Group, and as a staff physician at Doctors Immediate Care, Illinois.


In 2018, she learned about the direct primary care (DPC) model from a colleague and decided to open the first DPC practice in her county.


She did not have a patient or referral base in her town, and thus had to build her DPC practice from the ground up.


Dr. Gupta used in-person and social media marketing to successfully fill her DPC practice in three years. Through trial and error, she discovered the key steps that DPC physicians need to take to in order to use social medial to get patients to join their practices. Dr. Gupta is also passionate about spreading awareness about the DPC model to medical students and residents. She has used social media to showcase the strengths and values of DPC, and has lectured about DPC to several future physician groups, both virtually and in-person. Her goal is to help further the Direct Primary Care movement in Chicagoland, the state of Illinois and beyond. Dr. Gupta is married to a retina surgeon, has two children and in her free time enjoys reading, watching foreign films and studying Spanish.


 

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TRANSCRIPT*


Welcome to the podcast,


Dr. Gupta. Thank you so much for having me Maryelle I'm so excited to be


here. You are back on the podcast, if you haven't yet checked out Dr. Gupta's podcast, with Alex Torres in regards to marketing, please go check that out.


But, It was such a pleasure to. share the stage with you at the DPC summit in Kansas city. And, you know, I, I really love that people got a little bit of your story from your initial podcast, as well as at the summit. But now this space is for you to really highlight you as a physician and to share, but more about your practice.


So with that, I wanted to get into first your journey, because as was shared in your bio and your credentials, you've been all over the place. So to speak, in terms of growing up, you were, you were moving to different places and training. You've trained in different states and practice in different states.


So can you just bring us back to your entrance into medicine and how your journey eventually led you to your DP?


Thank you so much for having me Maryelle it is such a treat to be on the podcast. I'm a huge fan. I've just watched it grow and explode. And I just think what you're doing in this space is phenomenal.


I'm glad you're getting all the recognition that this podcast deserves, and I'm just excited to see it spread even further through the DPC world and just the medical community in the coming year. So thanks again for having me. so I feel that I'm on the older spectrum of doctors in the DPC space. I turned 50 this year and I've basically been in practice since the late nineties.


Um, going back to my childhood. I think I was just destined to be a kind of a nomad or a gypsy. my I'm originally from Guyana in south America. Um, I was born there and I'm the fifth generation of Indian, descent, in my family, in guy. And there weren't a lot of opportunities for, um, people in the seventies.


You were basically gonna be, in whichever station we were born into and my parents really wanted to look for other opportunities and at the time, um, the middle east was hiring. And so my dad took us across to Saudi Arabia and I lived most of my childhood in Saudi Arabia where he was teaching, um, English to college level students.


So I spent most of my childhood in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. And then when I finished school over there, I moved to, um, south Florida. And that was my first entrance into the United States. But I come from a family that has, many, many teachers. Literally only one other physician. Who's about 10 years older than me and is a male cousin.


So the idea of me becoming a doctor to me, I was always an underdog. It was sort of like, you know, a, a pie in the sky. There were no role models. There were no one, there was no one else in my family who had, um, entered medicine. And of course in this, this is now what the eighties, um, in the eighties as an immigrant, um, it was, it, it was just kind of an unknown territory.


Um, I think my parents just let me apply to college. They never looked at my applications. There was no college counselor helping you in the essay. None of that. I just kind of filled them out and sent them in and saw what happened. So I didn't grow up thinking I was gonna be a doctor. I went off to college, just kind of interested in stem and then I fell in love with psychiatry.


So I decided I'm going to med school to be a psychiatrist, and that's what I'm gonna do. And then once I got there, I realized that it's great, but working with psych patients has a particularly unique stress because the majority of people you look after you're gonna have this, like alternate reality with them as patients and, you may always be questioning, what's happening to them because the nature of the illnesses you're looking after are all mental health based.


And so I wanted to round that out with just things that were more straightforward. Coughs and colds and, you know, gyny and all the other things we love in family medicine, but then of course still have the chance to do plenty of psych. So that's why in my fourth year, I shifted over to family med and haven't looked back since, um, and just always loved it.


And then of course, after my father took me all over the world, I married a man who decided to do the same thing. so I did my training in Florida. We did residency in the tri-state area. Then we moved to California, got married there and worked there. And then after we started, our family decided that California is not only expensive, but where we were in LA, it's a tough place to bring kids.


And my husband was in an academic job and he wanted to switch out of that move into private practice. So we looked around for the best job and picked up and moved to the Midwest where we've been since 2008. And I think I'm finally rooted. And I told him we're not moving again until we retire.


and so along the way, I worked in quite a few different places. And the thing I'll say looking back is from day one, practicing medicine, I thought it was too fast. It, it just, it was too fast and it was clear from the very first day that what's valued is speed and volume. And, you don't quite realize that towards the tail end of residency, because academics tend to be a little bit more sheltered and, you know, by last year of residency, maybe you're seeing, you know, 12 patients, you know, in a day or it, it is a very doable number, but then all of a sudden you go in your first job and, and the, the people who hire you are like, okay, you ready to go?


It's four patients per hour. And if you can see six in an hour, that's, that's ideal because, you know, then we keep them moving and, you know, you hear things like this. Doctor's so great. He can see 25 patients in a day. And I kept thinking, why are we valuing volume? Because the first time I had to see a patient that quickly, it just felt wrong.


It, it felt like you're trying to cut someone's hair too quickly is the analogy. I always come back to, you know, sit down at the hairdresser and you say, cut my hair. And you only have two minutes to do it. What, how is that? How, how on earth is that haircut gonna turn out? And that's how it was spelled.


There's not enough time. and so I started, at university of Southern California. I took an academic job there for a year. and that was wonderful because in academics you have lots of education and you have colleagues and there's a. You know, like a status to being part of a university. but unfortunately in California commute means everything and my commute was an hour.


And so I lasted about an hour. I'm sorry. I lasted about a year in that. And then I took a job at Kaiser, which is the large HMO on the west coast. And I worked for them all the way until I had my son. And that's where I really saw what controlled corporate medicine is. And everyone knew that who worked at Kaiser, they knew from the get go that you you're gonna be told what to do.


You're gonna have a lot of rules. And that's just the way it's, the benefits are great, the vacation, everything like that. But you were clearly told you may not prescribe a brand drug. Don't even try. If you try, you're gonna get flagged. Um, you may not refer to ortho or spine until your patient has done complete physical therapy and you can't even order the MRI until they've done physical therapy.


So there's so many steps and they actually had a, a book of protocols for each specialty that we were supposed to refer to before we. Sent a referral. And as a young doctor, I remember a couple times getting, I had just started a couple times getting a nasty phone call from, you know, GI or ID or something.


Hey, did you know, you haven't follow the protocol, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I'm like, all right, I'm new here. Let me get back to the book and read it. but just the idea that you could be part of a team and then you could be scolded by, you know, your specialists. Right. But anyway, I, I worked there, I became a partner and then I had my son and then we decided to leave California and move here.


So then, we moved to California and then when my kids were little, I started working at an urgent. And I worked there for a good five, six years as well. And that was where I really learned the finances of medicine in terms of what's happening and how people are charged.


And this urgent care was interesting because it was, Medicaid based. So it was a primary care site for patients with Medicaid. And one of the docs was their assigned primary. Um, but it, they also took walk-ins. They took people with no insurance with, with insurance and build out, and they also broke it down into both primary care and urgent care.


So it was a wide variety of patients that were coming my way. And as a mom, with young kids being able to work, you know, two shifts or three shifts per week was great because you didn't really bring work home. You go there, you see the patients you finish and you leave, but I would see what would happen when someone would come in with no insurance and they would want like STI testing.


And the GC would be 125 and then the herpes would be like, I don't remember anymore, like a hundred. And I'd say, why are we charging them this much? And they'd say, well, you know, that's, that's the self pay price. Of course we know now that really a hundred, a GC chlamydia culture is like $15. Right? And then a herpes culture can be done for like, I don't know, maybe 20.


So starting to see how prices are marked up, really bothered me. And then also the quality of care that people get with Medicaid. So I was working with this low income population until one day I, I came in and I'd been waiting for my paycheck for two months. It was like two months behind getting paid.


And they're like, sorry, we can't pay you anymore. The clinic's outta money. Medicaid reimbursement is down. We just, we just can't pay you. And that's when I had to leave to make a long story short. So, you know, leaving that environment, put me right back into the question of, well, what am I gonna do now?


This is about five years, four, five years ago. And so I looked at all the local medical groups and I really wanted something that was possibly part-time no inpatient, no call, if I could get away with it or a minimal call and those jobs just didn't exist. It was all or nothing. It was it's your, privilege to join us and have us tell you exactly how to work and work exactly how we want you to work.


and there's no part-time. And so that led me to Googling about concierge medicine and then direct primary care. And that's how I found out about the model.


I sit here listening to you talk about academic medicine, Kaiser. The Medicaid urgent care population.


And I mean, wow, you have literally lived through all of that. And I think that that really, , we'll get to how powerful your social media platform is. But because of all of those experience, you can really see how you pull from those experiences when you talk to the future generations of DPC physicians.


So it is so incredible again, that you are here sharing your story because, you have so much to be pulling from , when you started planning your DPC. So I wanna ask there, because you said your husband, wanted to do private practice.


I wanna ask what were the conversations like when you and your husband, , were discussing you opening your own private practice because he was already in that space?


Well, they were very interesting because, he works for a large medical group that was since bought by private equity. And this is another interesting point that I think is unfolding in the healthcare landscape. And so it's been really eye opening for me to watch from the inside, how his medical group has evolved. And in the beginning, when he, when we moved here and he joined, it was physician own physician run.


It had a board and it really felt like a place where they were multi-specialty, but they got to run things the way they wanted to, until they were bought out. And once they were bought out, the culture changed, um, there's so much restriction and I would joke with him and I'd say, you know, it's turning into Kaiser and he would say, no, it's not gonna turn into Kaiser.


Well, yes, it has completely turned into Kaiser because it's the same thing. You can't, you know, do certain things without clearing it or following the protocols. what's most disheartening for me just as a side note, but I think it's important to know this what's most dis disheartening to me is, how the finances and the compensation for the doctors has completely changed.


Yeah. They have to, they literally have to work harder to make less money and I'm not making it up because I hear about it from him all the time. Several of our friends work in the same group. So this is what we talk about on Saturday nights, when we're getting together, we talk about the state of medicine and the state of reimbursement and it's, but the problem is that many folks are in that mid space where they're about to send kids off to college and not everybody can take the financial leap to open an independent practice.


So to go back to your question, what we had around our house were, is this a viable model? You know, how, how can we set it up in a way that if it doesn't work out, it's not a huge, financial setback. He knew that, you don't just open a practice and expect it to be filled right away.


Because when he had joined, the group, he had to get out there and bring patients in, in the beginning. And so he had a lot of experience for me in terms of, well, you know, you're gonna have time to set it up, but you're gonna have to get out there and get your patients. They're not just gonna like find you, you have to go find them and it's gonna be uncomfortable, but you have to do it in order for the practice to fill.


And then we, we use savings, to get everything started. And then as, you know, a lot of folks do that or they take out a loan and then you break, even then you pay yourself back and then you start making a profit and you write things off along the way is the, the simple accounting approach to starting your DPC.


but the other side of it too, is. I think for us in our family, we were in a position where the income is added on and would be fine, but if it didn't work out and then I had to go and just swallow my pride and go find another urgent care or suck it up and work for one of the big groups and be take, call on everything.


We would've just had to do that. And then thankfully it has worked out to where my DPC has now, year four in, it's met the financial goals that I was hoping for. And the reason I wanna share this is because I'll share with you later, how hard it was to fill it. But, I really, really wanted to prove that I could make the equivalent amount of money in a part-time DPC.


Compared to a part-time traditional job. I wanted to do that cuz I wanted everybody to know that it's possible and it's possible when you don't have a panel of patients to bring with you. And so I'm really happy to share that. Yes, it's possible. I hit that benchmark last year. And so this is how I know it's doable that if I can do it, honestly, it's doable for people everywhere.


And I'm so glad that you mentioned that because you know, again, you are in this space of being a very successful DPC physician. You've achieved your goals. You are also making such an impact on the future generation, like I mentioned of DPC physicians.


And so the fact that you had been in all these roles and you even had that mentality of like, if it works, it works. If it doesn't, we'll be okay. That is such an important place to be in head in head space wise, because it really sets you up for being able to focus on the creativity on the patient experience on the ways to be able to, you know, continue to practice autonomously as you're developing your DPC, whether you are like yourself years out of residency, or whether you are just graduating residency in the summer.


So incredible. Now you mentioned it. So I wanna go there next, in terms of filling your DPC, when you opened, did you have any pre-enrollment or did you start from zero? And how did you grow from there?


So when I opened, I had one patient. And I can mention him because he's so special. He, uh, and I know he won't mind me sharing about him.


he was an executive that had found me at. Past urgent care, where I told you they, you know, they take walk-ins and whatnot, great insurance, you know, well to do. And he would keep coming back to this clinic just so I could be his primary. We had this strong connection. It's kind of like a father figure.


And so when I got ready to open my DPC, I called him up and said, Hey, I'm opening a practice. You know, this is the model, just wanna let you know. And if, if you're interested or if you have any business tips and he of course helped me business wise, he was my first patient. He was there on opening day.


He has since sense. Uh, I think the bulk of his family comes to me. but to answer your question, that he is all I had, the urgent care, as I mentioned, um, locked me out of their EMR. So I couldn't even go back and find a, a handful of patients to let them know that I was leaving and, opening. So I, I had nothing and I, it was also in a different, Geographic location than where my, the urgent care had been.


So I literally opened with my one patient and the plan to, you know, we knew we would have to cover rent and the expenses of the practice until people came in and, you know, started paying their, their membership. And it was quite intimidating. Um, and I would hear stories of, you know, DPCs that opened and, you know, were full within three months or that transitioned.


And of course I was happy for, you know, folks who were doing well, but I was always also like, oh my God, you know, what if, what if it doesn't work? What if I never get patience? Uh, so it, it was intimidating.


And if you've seen one DPC, you've seen one DPC. So if you take your focus and your head space and focus it on the things that you can control and the joy that you have around opening your DPC, saving your medical career, saving your professional career, that will.


Exude from your pores . So I will say that,


going into the future. This is, this is one of the reasons why too, going to conferences in person is really important because you really, or even visiting a local DPC, if there's one around you, you know, not to compare, but to, to be surrounded by that excitement and other people exuding the love for this model and the love, for creating a practice that is theirs. So I wanna ask you, when you mentioned that extremely frustrating situation with the urgent care locking you out of the EMR, did you have any non-compete issues in Illinois?


No, because again, that urgent care was so small, their contract was very lax and, you know, they, there was no non-compete, but it was literally that I couldn't even track down the handful of patients that I, I knew might have been interested because I couldn't really remember people's last name and stuff.


That's in the chart that, you know, that I just, there was no way to find them. So I had to come up with other ways to fill my practice.


What were those other ways that you used to, to fill up


your practice? So I started with joining my local chamber, um, and.


Chambers are interesting because it was my first entry into the whole small business world. I have no business background. I was never interested in business accounting, none of it. So I had always heard this term, small business. I didn't even really put two and two together with what is a small business?


Why was that different than any other business? Why is this term? It just wasn't even on my radar, but then you come to learn exactly what small businesses are, you know, all the different types, whether it's restaurants or boutiques, or even, you know, a real estate agent is a, is a small business person, many times what that means in terms of how, you know, they approach their work and how they get customers or clients and how so much is based on relationships.


And also the marketing side of it events, you know, why do we have, you know, chamber events and farmer's markets and all these things. So I joined the chamber and I gave it a year. I met everybody. I. Did events. I went to events, I sponsored events and I did some printed media. And I discovered that that is very expensive and probably low yield for what you get.


Um, it's nice to do a photo shoot and be in a magazine and maybe run an ad, but it costs so much money and you're it it's to me, it's, it's kind of uncontrollable. Um, you don't know where the magazine's going. Who's opening it. What will make them call you? You know, what will make them do something? And so I started with that and then, um, I think I.


Then my husband said, you have to go door to door, you have to go door to door through your town. And I said, Nope, I can't do it. It's it's too embarrassing. I can't, I can't, I can't do it. He said, Nope, make your business card, just go in there, say something, drop it off and just do, just do like five once a week.


And, and so I started go in around one by one dropping off. I went to local salons. I went to the restaurants. Um, I did get a couple people, you know, from, um, local places. But I think what I discovered is that social media gives you a chance to do some of that virtually so that when you meet people in person, it's a lot less like cold calling.


So if I go walk into the salon down the street and just walk in and say, hi, I'm the new doctor in town. Nice to meet you. Here's my card. It may not be received as well as if. I had, um, connected with that salon on social media and supported their social media and then DMed them and said, Hey, I'm going to be in the neighborhood.


May I stop by and say hello? In the sense they would already be expecting me. And then by the time I go in, oh, you're that doctor that always likes or pose, it's nice to meet you in person. You know, do you want a complimentary blowout while you're here or something, something. And then here's my card.


You know, I'm a great fit for small business owners like yourself because I understand how hard it is to buy insurance. Keep me in mind for some of your girls. Next thing you know, the owner would share it at their, their luncheon or their breakfast meeting. And then I would get patients like that. So to me, I figured out it's free and it's a way to bridge the distance between, you know, my physical office and my space and their physical space,


I will mention this too, just with your example of the hair salon and the blowout, even when you are getting your own hair done, I found myself, getting my hair done, and the person was talking about how frustrating it is that you know, her husband is going to be in a position where their healthcare will change.


I don't have a DPC in Modesto, but sure. As he St Luke's is in Modesto and there's, mm-hmm, a doctor in Turlock. And so I was telling them I was sitting there, you know, what else are you gonna do when you're sitting in the chair? Yeah. And I was pulling up their website. I'm like, this is the cost of their monthly membership.


Amazing. And the, the, the salon, was filled with the what. And so, you know, even that I was, I was thinking about you actually precisely at that point, when the other, you know, it was like little mirror cats, the hair, the heads popped up and they're like, what, what is she talking about? And so, you know, the word spreads and like, you're talking about, there's different ways to invest in your marketing. Or, you know, if you're already there doing your, your hair, whatever, um, it's a way to take advantage of that situation. when you mention efforts like print marketing and social media, I wanna ask, as you were trying different methods, how were you benchmarking the success of each of those method?


I'm kind of a gestalt person. So I'm sort of like a big picture and it is just the way my mind thinks sort of look at the whole thing. And I kind of viewed it as different baskets and I kept telling myself, you can't put everything in one basket, you have to diversify. And you know, you kind of start one, you know, like maybe you do the magazine and then you wait, see, and then, you know, you go Doche door a little bit, and then you, you know, you connect with a couple people.


So I just kept filling the different baskets over and over as much as I could. And then I think I didn't, I just kind of kept tally in the back of my head about who was coming from where, but then I found, and this was probably about, maybe about a year in, I, I fell into what I think is probably, the, I, the ideal way to build your practice.


If I had to go back and look at it again, I would probably go straight to this demographic and put all my efforts there. And that's finding local, like a, a group of local, small business employees and owners that are connected somehow that will then spread by word of mouth for you. And in my case, it's the European community.


I didn't realize that the trucking industry is extremely big here in, the Western suburbs of Chicago. Wow. So probably 60% of my patients are from that demographic and they are almost always word of mouth. And so they told me at the beginning, they're like, when Macedonian people find a doctor, they like, or a dentist, everybody comes to them.


And I was like, oh my God, please let everybody come to me. , cause you're just dying to fill the practice. Right. And then, , they did one by one by one by one by one. And so, and I never, I know other. People have gone directly to warehouses or directly to trucking companies and kind of pitched to the whole business.


I never did that. Um, I just ended up getting one by one by one, a friend and friend and someone's brother and someone's mom and all that. But looking back if I had to, I would probably have started there. I would've maybe skipped, you know, the chamber all together and just gone to some local places in my town and put my efforts into that one industry.


Um, but things, I also think, I, I really feel the universe gives you, um, you know, what you deserve, what you earn and what you put out there. And so I have patients, you know, from all sorts of different places and to me, it also comes down to the relationships, right? Like the relationships you build with them.


Mm-hmm , and that's what I like the fact that the practice is mixed. It, it just unfolded how it was going to unfold and. Those who like it stayed and those who didn't like it, or for whatever reason they left. And it just kind of over time settles into something that's more organic, but could you go back and target one group?


I, I think that would probably be my little takeaway for somebody starting as maybe identify that group and just go after it.


Awesome. And I think that, especially if a person, has already decided where they're going to open their DPC, that research can start before, you know, the build out's done before the website's done.


You can start talking with people beforehand. So that's a, a huge gem. Thank you so much for mentioning that. As your practice has grown, can you give us a sense as to how many of your patients are insured versus not, and how many people are on, Medicaid type of plan versus not


sure.


So I think probably maybe 10% are on Medicaid and then paying, you know, paying privately to, to be in the practice. And then of the other 90, it's probably something like maybe like 50, 40 are uninsured and maybe 40 are. I'd say the bulker, the bulk are small business owners without insurance, and then the second group are.


Folks with insurance that, like the DPC access and, and the type of care.


Awesome. So I wanna touch on those two groups, the, the individual, non employer, associated patients, and then the employer groups. So , when you have people who are insured their health, sure. They're healthy, so to speak, and there's no known medical issues and They're thinking about joining your practice, after you've, talked, you've done the, the door to door, you know, meet and greets.


You've, you've done virtual meet and greets. What things do you say to people when they're trying to figure out if DPC is right for them, especially if they're insured and they're healthy.


So I'm always thinking about what, would make the patient value being in the practice?


Because if they value it they'll stay and if they don't value it, they'll leave obviously with the uninsured, it's the financial side. And I think that's a stronger hook. Even if they're healthy, because they realize that one or two visits to urgent care is gonna run them as much as a couple months of membership with no follow up.


And so it's almost a no brainer if you, if you're uninsured, but if you are insured, that's where I think it comes more to. Access, and convenience because the headache of calling a larger group just to make an appointment and then waiting for the appointment and then, follow up or getting messages.


It, people, we are in a culture where things move fast and everyone's busy. And so we all wanna look after ourselves, but we don't wanna take much time and nobody is gonna go sit in a waiting room for two hours, you know, or, you know, be on the phone for an hour to make an appointment. So I try to show them that in the beginning, um, that access, convenience and availability, and simplicity are part of how I do things.


And, I, I try to just make it very laid back. Sometimes you'll get people that they just don't use medical services enough to justify it cuz you know, they just never come in. So it's kind of like, why would I, and that's the minority, but I found that. This is the other thing I'm usually thinking is do they have a reason to seek medical care?


So if they have a couple of medical conditions or they're on a few prescriptions, they're going to need medical care at least twice a year. So for those folks, I know it's probably gonna be an easy sell. I don't have a ton that are a hundred percent healthy with nothing wrong with that, because there again it's well, if I don't go to the doctor, why do I need one?


And why do I need the convenience if I don't go to the doctor? Right? So my young and healthy are usually uninsured or have a health share because they need me financially. Right. But most of my insured have, they tend to be like around age 50 and older. So they've used some medical services. They have to come in once or twice a year.


And they, they see what the system is like, and they don't want that headache. And they're happy to pay monthly to not have to deal with the headache.


And I just wanna highlight on your FAQs. One of the things I loved was that, just addressing, why would I need DPC as a patient? And you weren't necessarily addressing the, the young, healthy person, but.


anybody who is looking into your model. we can prevent things from happening instead of waiting for them to happen. And I think about , that phrase of, if you make time now to be healthy, you will make less time later to be sick. Mm-hmm and it really highlights again, that relationship based medicine that is about knowing a person before, the stuff hits the fan.


And then, and sometimes you can, you can get. Across to younger people, sometimes mm-hmm .


And for the other group that we were mentioning the employers, you, I know that, you, you found this, this niche of, local truck drivers and it went out from there, but when you are talking to an employer, whether they be, you know, an employer who has two employees or 25 employees or more, how do you start talking to employers in your area?


So I, I do have a couple of employees that were signed up by their employer, but I don't have any employer groups by the time I think I, and I think I didn't go after them very heavily. I got the truckers mostly again from them spreading it amongst their demographic one by one.


I never went to the owner of a trucking company and, pitched to them. , although I think that would be great, for anybody to do starting out, by the time I started to get into employer groups, I was getting close to being full. And I'll speak frankly, here. I'll just give you my opinion, that the employer price point for a large group, to me, detracts a bit from the value of what I wanna give my patients.


So if you pitch to an employer group and then you're gonna make your lowest, the youngest employee is going to be the price point of that group. So let's say you're gonna, you know, your tier go from 60 to a hundred, but then you're gonna offer the employer. Everybody is a flat rate of 65.


I personally think, you know, you're losing money, right? Because if you had everybody join at their correct age tier, you would make more money and you may still have to do the same amount of work. And the older people are, they can be, quite complicated, they can be heavier utilizers. So I sh I personally shied away from giving a lower price point because I just didn't wanna devalue what I'm doing.


And maybe part of that is also because I'm still essentially solo and I've stayed solo. I have literally three or four hours of admin help per week. And that's it. And because I've gotten used to doing everything by myself, I just. That was my philosophy, but now I know many folks, have multiple employer groups and maybe it works better for their arrangement and their staff and how they have broken down the finances of their clinic.


So that was part of my decision not to really pursue them heavily, I also didn't wanna offer them a flat price. I offered them a discounted rate per person, maybe like $10 off per age, and then just gave them, I said, that's, that's what I wanna do. And if they don't wanna do it, you know, then, then that's okay too, because I do think that in DPC and I, again, we can speak freely here because the bulk of us, you know, we, we're passionate about this model is this model is so valuable and what people are getting the level of quality for what they're getting.


I still think it's vastly underpriced. And so that's why I think that. You really have to feel out your community. You have to have a price point where you're gonna get some in invisible patients. It's not so high that they feel they have to use it all the time. Right. But then you're gonna get high utilizers and you can't have them.


And then be sort of upset because you feel like you're doing all this work and barely making $85 a month. So you have to find the right price point for yourself. And my hope is that as the model grows, that price point will be acceptably slightly higher because yes, we're going against the grain. We're bringing something new to our community.


We're fighting against the traditional system, but what we're doing is so much higher quality. You know, our 200 to 600 patients get way better care than 200 to 600 patients in a traditional practice. You know, where the doctor has a panel of 3000. So I think there's a value to that, and I hope that that's gonna be demonstrated even more, as people open more practices.


Amen. cannot agree with you enough. Have you ever thought about the idea of charging per visit in addition to a membership fee?


It crossed my mind cuz I know that there are different models and then I just kind of waved it away because then I, you started going down the sort of rabbit hole of, well then what does that mean?


And how do I decide who needs to get charged more? I'm not, you know, I, I have been told that maybe you should discharge one or two of your high utilizers. Um, it comes back around to the concept of what does the universe bring you? And I almost did it with one of my, busiest patients. but then I thought, why don't I work on setting boundaries because boundaries are important in DPC.


And this is something I think I had to learn. I think everyone learns as a small business owner is you have to set some parameters on how, running this practice is gonna affect your life and how looking after patients is going to be sustainable. And so that's where I found, setting clearer boundaries on when I'm available on, when I check messages on, when I respond on, when I work on the practice that helped me tame everything down and feel just better about all of it.


So important and E especially for those people who are wanting to open, or who are already practicing as a solo doctor, these next gems, I know that you're gonna drop are, so important to listen to. So when you talk about boundaries, what are your, best suggestions for people as they're either opening or as they're adjusting their workflows to, change the boundaries that have already been set between a doctor and their patients.


So the two that come to mind, one is start as you go. And the other one is, um, don't over promise.


So in start, as you go, I. filled the practice little by little, I, I think at the end of the first year, I was up to 75 patients and that's the number at which I broke even. So I was covering all my expenses by the, when I hit 75 patients, everyone has their number. but start, as you go is more about think carefully about not giving too much, because you want patients so badly in the beginning, you'll take almost anybody and then you wanna do everything.


So I did things like I came in on Sundays for working patients. I, you know, came in in the evening, cuz they said, there's just no way. And then I learned that if I kept doing that, that that's not how I wanted to be practicing. So I was not starting the way I wanted to continue. So figure out, you know, if you're never gonna wanna come in on the evening, then don't do it from the beginning.


If you're never gonna wanna come in on the weekend. Don't do it and just tell patients, this is what I have. This is the times, um, I'm available. And to that end too. Um, don't over promise. And again, it's so tempting because you love the model. It's you wanna, oh, I'm available all the time. You can text me all the time.


You can reach me all the time. No don't ever say 24 7, cuz you do not wanna be available 24 7. You don't and you shouldn't be right because what they think is 24 7 is not how we view being available. Um, my EMR doesn't automatically do this, so we have to do it every night, but it's, I think ext extremely important to have an auto reply on your texting line or your phone line and you need to set.


Those times and stick to them. So mine are 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. So when they join, I tell them, um, at the intake visit or even before they sign up I'm during the week 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, evenings and weekends are urgent only. And then that's what the message says. And if they, and they forget and they send things at 10 o'clock and I've gotten the messages, gotten Sterner and Sterner.


Now it says, please do not text after 7:00 PM, unless it is urgent because I don't wanna school people. And I mean, at the end of the day, they're paying to have me as their doctor and I don't wanna be contentious, but they also have to learn that urgent is not, I need a refill or I forgot to tell you when I wanted to have an appointment.


No, that's not urgent. So I don't answer them. And then the other thing I do that is, um, it might be controversial, but it's gotten me this far is I sit everybody down and I say, listen, after seven. if it's urgent, call me, but I'm going to bed at 10. If you call me after 10, I am going to say, what is the emergency?


And if you can't answer that question, I'm gonna get upset. And this is the only thing in my entire practice they ever will hear me say, that sounds remotely stern. That's it. I don't get stern about anything else. And then their eyes get big. No doctor, I would never call you. I would never call you after.


I'm like, I understand. I'm sure you wouldn't just wanna make it clear because that's the one thing I'm not gonna tolerate and it is not appropriate to call after 10, unless it's an emergency. So I would put that out there because I think we are, again, you, we want patients so badly, you wanna do everything you're tempted to bend over backwards and make it so easy, but then there will be people who take advantage of that.


And then you'll be in that uncomfortable position of having to then reset the boundaries or tell them, Hey, you know, whatever. So I, I just think it's better to set it out at the beginning.


you know, even when you go back to the 24 7, even though technically like, you know, you're describing a 24 7, availability with.


With the understanding of, after hours are on weekends are reserved for these particular issues. Just by putting that on a website can be very dangerous because that is your advertisement that you are available 24 7.


So when you're crafting your, your copy on your website, it's something to think about because you don't wanna be then held to that 24 7?


Um, yes. Dr. Eski highlighted that specifically in his, my DPC story episode, from 2021. So I definitely would say if you haven't, heard that Dr. Eski is the person who created the DPC map or he is a lawyer, a DPC physician and an MBA. So he knows what he's talking about. And,


The idea of boundaries. I mean, I, I think about in medical school, one of my attendings, he, he taught us the backwards walk towards the door as the, clock is running out and you're like, I have to go to the next patient.


And so just being like preventing that situation where you are having to be reactive. Um, mm-hmm, like you're describing is so important. So now I wanna spin the tables a little bit, because when we talk about boundaries with patience, that's one thing. But what about boundaries when it comes to running your own business?


What do you have to say? Yeah. What do you have to say? Um, about being a physician and an entrepreneur, and in your case, you know, a mom of kids who are not yet off to college, how do you set boundaries for yourself and your business?


So it's hard. because especially when you start your DPC, everything is new.


And it's so awesome that even though I didn't have much in the way of patience in that first year, I kept myself busy because I set everything up for myself, how I wanted it to be. I did my whole office myself, I, without, without a build out, you know, I furnished it. Um, I designed it. And then all of the other systems, you know, clear, you're filing your, your licenses, your, everything, everything, how are you gonna track when you order labs and the results come in, you know, all these little, little things and you're marketing at the same time.


So, um, and crafting things for social media, which is a whole nother thing, all the content creation. So I think there's so much that happens that you just love it and you enjoy it. And so you show up to work and literally eight hours pass and you're like, oh God, it's time to go home. You know, it's, you know, time to pick somebody up.


Um, and so I think. Part of it is, is treating it just like a regular work timeline, trying to confine it to daytime hours, trying not to let it spill into the evening because that's a temptation, right? As we come home, we've had dinner and then we're all in our computers watching TV. So I kind of take my cues from my family because I do have kids who are doing homework.


My husband is chairman of his department. So he's got admin things and stuff. So if other people are working and no one is really interacting or doing anything with me, I might do some extra in the evening, but I've learned that the family works better. If I com if I try to get things done before I'm with them.


And if I put in a really full day, by the time I come home and it's time to wash dishes and help set up dinner and stuff, I'm ready for a mental break. Anyway. I do sometimes do some work on weekends. I'll do patient care, maybe Sunday evening to kind of like clean out the email box. I don't want patients seeing me replying to them on Saturday or Sunday morning, but Sunday evening is kind of fair game.


But when it comes to the business, you know, there are those things that also, as the practice gets busier and you start having more patience to see, then you have less time for admin during the week. But the flip side is at this point in time, cuz it's now been four years. There's not much that I'm creating, that's new.


All the systems are in place. All the workflows are as they are. I have, very little like settling the QuickBooks, going through the lab charges, paying the bills. It doesn't take up as much time, as it used to. And sometimes I'll still squeeze it in on the weekend. If everybody else is doing something else.


Now social media is another side because. I have teenagers and they are on social media too. So I've learned that I also have to, I almost have to make it seem like I'm never on it, because if I'm on it in their presence, then I have no standing, well, mom, you're always on social media, so why can't we be on it?


Yeah. So to that end, I've also learned to put it in with the work and try to do it during the Workday. It set aside certain times so that I'm not there actively trying to post and do things where they can see what I'm looking at, or I just, you know, then I never hear the end of it.


gotcha. Totally, totally. Now, when you mention certain times of the day, can you walk us through, Dr. Gupta's typical week in terms of, what do you do on Mondays? And when do you do certain things? Um, the rest of the.


So I set the practice up to see patients on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. And I make myself stick to that because if I'm going to cap at a part-time salary, then I'm going to provide part-time clinical care.


If I decided I wanted to work five days, then I would open my practice up and let it grow to where my income would match that five days. So I'm intentionally making myself, keep my patients to three days a week. so what do I do typically in the morning at, at this age in life, you have to help get all the kids off to school.


So I do all that stuff and I multitask. So sometimes while I'm waiting for people, I'll do a first round of emails in the kitchen and that kind of front loads my day. So that by the time I've dropped everybody, including the dog off a diet daycare, You know, I'm in the office maybe by between nine and nine 30, but I've already done some of the first round of emails.


So I'm not walking in there till a full inbox. And then I'll see patients. It just depends on the days, some days. it's summer. So right now the summer, schedule's kind of odd, but typically till about three ish. and then I pick people up sometimes if I have someone to see again, I'll bring the kids back to the office with me or I'll schedule phone calls.


So once I've gotten home with them and they're in their activities, I'll do the phone visits in the evening. I'm sorry, in the afternoon. And I absolutely love being able to shift that on a whim. However, I wanna do it. I, I it's priceless. It's absolutely priceless to be able to decide your workflow yourself and what, what works for you and, And the way you handle things. So that's, you know, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Wednesday, Friday, I purposefully schedule no phone calls, no office visits. And I try to keep it to maybe, less than a half a day of admin and follow up. So this is when I'll do things like send out referrals that take some time to type up, Uh, let's see what else, you know, call a specialist or go into, up to date and look up, you know, a, a situation that's more concerning because you can't always do those between patients on patient days.


So sometimes I'll leave that stuff for Wednesday, Friday, but here again, I'm intentional that I do not wanna be working all day, Wednesday, Friday. So then if I have an errand, some type of selfcare mm-hmm, , I'll take care of it. I usually post things on social media on those days. So it's not really clashing with my patient days, but sometimes I'll, you know, take pictures or record when I'm in the office, because I wanna catch the office space.


And that's the day that I've washed my hair. So , I watch too awesome. Do it on the day when the hair is optimal but then, but then I'll actually write things up and put 'em together and then put them out, you know, usually on Wednesday or Friday or sometimes on a Sunday, Yeah. And then again, with the patients, I try really hard if they do, they don't, I never put my schedule on a website.


It's not on the website. It's not on Google. Nobody knows. You know, when I'm there, when I'm not, I just preferentially always try to keep them to a Monday, Tuesday or Thursday, unless it's urgent. You know, if, if someone fell or whatever and you have to see them right away, you have to go in on a Wednesday, Friday, that's fair.


But for everything scheduled, I try to stick to those three days.


Amazing and very different than your experience at Kaiser and the experience at the urgent care. So, I wanna go into your social media platform even, even more because like I said, you have this unique place as a physician who has had all of this experience in being an employed physician to then opening your own DPC and then creating content that is very, transparent about DPC and it really highlights the autonomy and the things that we enjoy as DPC physicians. So can you, bring us back to, how did you get started on social media in the first place?


Sure. And thank you for, for those lovely words. Maryelle thank you. So I started on Facebook when I opened the practice, because everyone said, this is how people are marketing their businesses. Now you can get on and do these little Facebook ads. They don't have to be very fancy. And I had been on Facebook just with friends and family for a couple years, but I, I never really posted much.


And so I started posting things there. just in terms of writing up about DPC, writing up about myself and I. Was an English major in college. So, and I like to write, so that part of it appealed to me, but I have no experience in marketing. And so putting yourself out there and how do you present yourself in a way that's not egotistical, but also tells your story, you know, who's gonna be interested.


How do you tell it in a way that will engage people who don't know about this? So they took a lot of trial and error and just, just trying, just, just putting something out there and, and just trying, and after a while on Facebook, I started to realize that it's an older space and it's closed because people won't really see your work unless.


Friend you and you accept their friend requests. Mm-hmm . So if you don't accept them, then they're not necessarily gonna see much. And part of what we do is marketing is you, you want to reach people everywhere. You wanna reach your potential patient, you know, wherever they are. So somehow you have to bridge that distance.


So I realize that unless you're running ads, Facebook to my mind was, was challenging. So, and everyone kept talking about Instagram. So I opened up Instagram and I realized that most small, small businesses use that platform because it's visual. You can display, you know, the inside of your restaurant, you can display the, the eyelashes that you put on someone, you can put your work out there, but how do you put that out there as a doctor?


Right? Because you can't talk about patients, you can't show their pictures. I don't have really procedures and like dentists. So how, like, what am I gonna say? So I kept just talking about DPC and. I also felt that that's great, but it's a little boring. So then I would mix it up with just things about life.


Life is a doctor. Life is a small business owner, you know, what, what does it look like to do this type of work? And what that led me to was meeting other small business owners who are trying to do the same thing on Instagram. And I've learned that marketing is all about relationships. And so is building your practice.


So you may. Talk to somebody and you're just dying for them to sign up because, you know, God, you just, you want, you want the patient and then why, why won't they join you? And they don't, but they may go and tell somebody who tells somebody and then a month later, their best friend or their sister calls you up.


Right. And they join. So you have to kind of just cast this net of relationships and content and just put it out there and kind of wait a little bit to see what comes back. But Instagram has that unique aspect of being able to really talk to people in the comments, under their posts, message them and have them message you back.


So you can start a conversation with people that then leads to meeting them in person. So that's how I came to social media to start. And then as my practice filled and got, so this was round about last November. I was getting. I think last summer ish, I got to the point where I'm like, I think I can start a wait list.


Now I'm comfortable where I am. People will leave. There's some churn, people will join, but I don't think I need to market DPC from my practice anymore. But like you and all of us, I love the model so much. And I'm so, saddened by the state of healthcare that I thought it's my passion.


And it's my responsibility to give something back to this next generation of doctors and change this negativity that we have about. The way medicine is mm-hmm . And again, I come back to like dinner table conversations. Well, I don't want my kids to go into medicine. Why would you want your kids to go into medicine?


Medicine sucks. You know, going back, would you have done medicine again? No, I should have gone into business. This is the stuff you're hearing from other doctors, right. And yet we have this young generation that are trying, they have to do so much to get into med school and then to have them graduate and kind of see what we have figured out on our own and that we have now decided to walk away from, to open our DPC.


Right. So I wanted to be able to share that with. Future doctors and young doctors. And so around November, I made a conscious shift in my social media and I stopped talking to the potential patient. And I started talking to young doctors. Gotcha. And I started connecting with them and posting about, you know, why would you wanna go into medicine?


What is the state of healthcare? Why are independent doctors, breaking away, what's wrong with corporate medicine? did you know that, when you sign a contract and you try to leave, you know, you not only have a non-compete, you have to pay off the tail on your malpractice and it can be six figures.


Did you know that? So all these things that they don't know. And so that's how my intention changed. And it has honestly become something that is so enjoyable. It, it. It takes a while to figure out how to talk to different people and how to reach them, but just hearing them say things like, so is it possible to do this out of residency?


Do you think I should work first? You know, um, how can I find out more about DPC? Oh, I wanna come to a mastermind. Oh, there's a DPC Alliance or can I shadow you? And just the interest and the, the fact that they're listening, I think is what I hope for is just this chance to be able to share this with those who I think need to hear it.


And, you know, I was joking with a friend the other day. It's like, what would Martin Luther king do nowaday. He would get on social media cause there's, you know, think about it compared to a March that's gonna be on TV and be broadcast for like, you know, however long he would be on social media, right.


Talking to everybody because that's how you spread your message nowadays. If you can get to the people who need to hear it,


definitely. And it really highlights, how you can really democratize marketing because anybody can create a social media platform that goes viral, anybody. When you people, especially interested in primary care start accounts, they've done all throughout medical school and now in residency, and they've just celebrated their, their match and their graduation and whatnot.


they still have that spark and you can see it in their posts and in their passion with words below their posts, about primary care. And I think those are the people, especially who just like how our patients can be our biggest advertisers. Mm-hmm , um, those are the types of people who will continue to, Be the, the, the advertisements for primary care.


Mm-hmm , especially when so many people are choosing not to go into primary care because of whatever reason. But I think that when you plant that seed and engage with them and have them start thinking about like, like you said, you didn't even know about the finances really until you were working the urgent care as to like how messed up our healthcare system is When, when you start engaging with these people, in medical school in residency mm-hmm year one, year two, even year three, the impact can be so great because then they can start, you know, networking differently, thinking about how am I going to plan DPC financially? How am I going to plan DPC? location wise, you know, all of those things, when you do have more lead time, sometimes it's good.


Sometimes it's not, but, and there's definitely clearly examples of people who have opened, you know, within two months they were open and hitting the ground running. But I will say that if you can plan financially and, and, build your dream practice with fewer things, trying to fight for that space at the beginning.


It can be very rewarding starting out like that, versus having to scramble Yeah.


Now. Can you share some, some tips and tricks that you love to use when you are engaging with the community, whether that be following up in person or following up, virtually.


So,


First of all, numbers don't mean anything. They really don't because you can buy followers. They only matter for one thing, which is if you want to, and this is a conversation that will come up later. But if you want to monetize your social media, then to some extent, numbers matter, because the more followers you have, the higher you can make, when you wanna monetize, whether you're working with brands or putting out posts or whatnot, that's the only reason numbers matter.


So if you're trying to build your practice and find your patients, you can do that with, I don't know, a hundred followers. You can find patients however many, because it, all it matters is who you're connecting with. Right? So when you go on there and you see all these big numbers, don't let it intimidate you.


Because again, if you're not trying to get paid, then it doesn't matter. If you're there to say something, then you wanna try to find the people who want to hear right. What you wanna say. So in terms of tips and tricks, think when you're making content, try to ask yourself, is it about me or is it something that it can be of value to someone else?


And you can certainly do a bit of both because people like to hear your story, but you always wanna try to give people something, whether it's something funny or, you know, just something entertaining or it's a little kernel of wisdom or a little tip that you got from your experience. So that they're not just reading you, being indulgent about yourself.


There's a message or something helpful in there, even if it's just how you reacted to this patient experience or how you, you know, how it affected you. So try to give some value. I think that's, very important. Another thing is, think about the different ways that you're going to put content out there.


Um, we all understand, I think what a post is that there's a photo and then you write a caption underneath about the photo. It could be two lines, it could be four paragraphs about, and the two don't even really need to match. It just depends on, you know, what are you trying to put out there? Right. But video content is really, really important right now.


So if you're going to make the leap, it makes sense to start learning how to create video content from the beginning I am not a video person. I don't like hearing myself talk. I have had to get over it and learn how to communicate on camera, because that is what is being pushed. And when you get into things like looking at the analytics of how many people looked at a post, how many it's, it's not even comparable.


It is like 10 times as much for a real versus a post. Even if it's a. Tiny little reel of you showing your yourself, walking with your dog. It will blow up compared to a post that you spent so long writing, but it's just a static post. So definitely learn about video content. And then the third thing I would say is just jump in and start engaging with people, cuz there's a bit of an etiquette to it, but it starts with just someone writes a post reading it and putting a comment that's genuine.


It could be as short as I love the message in this. It could be as long as I am so glad you're talking about how hard it is for working women to breastfeed. I, I wish I would've had more help when I was doing that during residency. So sometimes it could be very deep and insightful and sometimes it could be just supportive, but that the person writing will notice that you did that and they will likely put a response and they will likely say, you know, who is this person?


The other thing I would say is also depending what your goals are, match that to the size of the person's account. If, if I put an account on Dwayne, the rock Johnson's account, , he's never gonna see little old me. Right. But if I put it on somebody who has maybe less than 10,000 followers, or less than 5,000, they're probably reading their comments and they will likely appreciate a new follower mm-hmm


But when you get into people with these big numbers, you may or may not ever hear back from them. they may or may not follow you. And again, it depends on what's your goal. Are you trying to get a big number of followers to get money, or are you trying to connect with people in which case, just spend your time finding out whose content, just resonates with you and just, just say things that are polite and genuine when they make a story, you know, Put something in there, you know, happy birthday they're posing about their birthday, happy birthday, and you'd be amazed.


how you can build a connection with people that you've never met in person. And I, it, it, to me, it's, it's astonishing. And I was watching a movie the other day. And, um, one of the characters was being critical about young people using social media. And she was like, you, you're on this, this, these phones and there's this world.


And it's just all fake. You're getting likes from people you've never met and you you're never gonna meet in real life. And the thought that crossed my mind is, you know, how is this different from pen pals, right? In the seventies, everyone had a pen pal that was like in Australia and you were never gonna call that pen pal, but you wrote letters and people sometimes met up and married their pen pal, or they, you know, you know, met them in Europe and did a girls trip together.


And this is the modern day pen pal and people are looking for connections. So I think as long as you see it in the context of what it is, You can really build relationships that then, you know, you will meet at a conference or, you know, you might meet somebody and say, Hey, you know, I'm gonna be in your town.


do you wanna grab a cup of coffee? If you think it's appropriate? Mm-hmm and if you feel like that's, you know, um, you know, would be reciprocated. So I think it, it, you just have to be mindful of how to use it the best way, and then don't let it get into your head when nobody likes a post or, you know, something doesn't do well or nobody follows you just, just tune it out.


Because you said you, you try to do your content on Wednesdays and Fridays. How much time do you devote to spending on social media?


So every day in the morning, I usually will go in and then if you know, answer any messages, I'll kind of look at my feed, comment on people's, you know, people tag you, right?


So if they've tagged you comment on those and then look through and, I always try to invest, even if it's just 15 minutes a day going through and, you know, liking people's posts that I'm connected to, or putting a comment on them, supporting their accounts, because they will support me back in turn when I post.


So I'll usually do that maybe sometime in the morning, sometimes in the lunchtime a little bit, if I'm, you know, need a little mental break. And then sometimes in the evening when my kids are not looking at me and because again, I have to do this on the down low. But then in terms of creating content, It's tricky because the video content can take a while and it took me a while to figure out how to put things together, how to get the, the light right. In my, in my office and things like that. So maybe I'll say like on Tuesday, I'll put aside like an hour at the end of patients to maybe try to film.


And sometimes I just have to do them really quick. I just have, all I have is an hour. I'm like, okay, I just have to make something. And sometimes those are the ones that come out great. And then sometimes they, they don't. And then, with Instagram, usually you write a caption. So then writing the caption is a second piece.


So then you write the caption, then you put it on the bottom of the reel and then I'll post it on, um, Wednesday morning or Friday morning, but I've also just started on TikTok just to, you know, make life more exciting. um, and TikTok is fun because there's really no writing. It's all. And so then I had to sort of pivot and say, okay, I, I wanna do things that are different than what's on Instagram.


So it's not just repeating. And what I'm finding that I actually like about TikTok when it comes to, putting a message out that is geared towards future physicians and young physicians is it's much easier because you can just sit there and start talking and people will ask you questions and you can put their question and then make another TikTok in response to it.


So someone asked, can you open a DPC out of residency? And so I think that's what it was. I put it up there and I just answered the question in under 90 seconds. And then, you know, you go back and trim the clips and everything, but there's no long captions to write. So sometimes I can do those really fast because I've finished up my Workday and I've got half an hour.


Let me just quick, I'm already dressed for work. So let me just film a few quickly and then go home. And then on Wednesday or Friday, I'll put them out there. and you know, I'm old. I am not of the tech generation, so if I can figure this out, everybody can,


amazing. And, The strategies that you've mentioned are, are I think very helpful because you're thinking about it from a physician's perspective who is taking care of patients actively.


So I think that that's where, your words are, are golden now. In terms of the monetization. During our DPC summit talk, it was yourself, Dr. Kristen Marie Coleman, and then myself, sharing the stage. And you guys really, you know, educated the audience as to how to make social media work for your community, but also how to monetize it.


And when you talk about how diversifying can help you. So that, you know, especially in monetization, if you have extra income coming in, you might not have to, to feel rushed, to add five more patients that month to help cover your overhead.


so How do you think about monetization and social media and how have you made it work for you?


I have just recently started dabbling in it. I did a campaign with GoodRx, which was my first, brand collaboration and I wanted to test it out to see, you know, what, what is involved?


What is it like, how, how do you even do this? You know, you negotiate the contract. they, I think the one I did was like a post, a real and five stories, and I knew how to make all those things, but then making it. While talking about a product was new. Um, they want it filmed a certain way. So make sure you, you follow all the things they want.


It took quite a lot of time. to be honest, it was my first one. And I think if you are already starting out younger, and if you're starting this in the year where your practice is still filling and you have downtime, it's the ideal time to start doing it. Me now, it it's hard for me to do, cuz I don't really have the right allotment of time to put into that, to then pitch the brand and then, you know, find out.


And then, you know, all the things that Kristen Marie talks about, which she has experience in. So I am sort of just kind of keeping an eye on it, sort of building that very slowly, but it's not my top priority because. My practice is full mm-hmm so looking after those patients and then managing my home life as well are pretty much taking up all of my time.


But I do like the idea of doctors being able to bring that to the table, because I think our opinions are very valuable. and I think if you're going to be on social media and you've, kind of figured out how the platforms work, that it is. It's also a another skill set to build and there are people I think, making quite good money.


I just don't think I have the space to do it properly in my life right now is my short answer. But down the road, maybe, maybe.


I love that. You are a physician, you are an entrepreneur, you're a DPC owner and you are a social media queen. So, You are listening to your own words and you got started and you're doing it. So jump on those platforms. If you're not following her already and follow her today, her account is at Dr.


Dot a L E E a G U P T a. And it'll be, it'll be on her accompanying blog@mydpcstory.com as well.


And in closing, I wanna ask, is there anything else you'd like to share with our audience?


Absolutely. I wanted to just. Share that in that first year, if your practice takes a long time to build like-minded that, first of all, the, the things you're doing and the skills you're you're building are gonna serve you for when the practice does get busy and a year from the time when it seems like it, it will never happen.


You might suddenly be busy and you'll look back and you'll, you'll just Marvel. But in that first year, when it's building. Take comfort in, you know, from this podcast and from other DPC docs that you meet, take comfort in the fact that people are doing it and it can be done. I had a local mentor and a friend in Dr.


CLO Ryan and I used to repeat to myself like a mantra if CLO can do it. It's possible CLO did it. So it's possible. I told myself that over and over and over and over again, because it was true. I mean, she had a living, breathing practice, you know, three miles from me and our counties are huge. Mine is a million people.


So I know there are like 200 people out of that million. That really should be my patient, but it's how am I gonna find them and how are they gonna find me? And so I kept telling. It's possible. It's possible. Just keep going, just keep going. And it is. And so I really want other people to believe that because it is the God honest truth.


We don't have enough DPC doctors in the country yet, and the patients are there. They just don't know where you are and you don't know where they are. And the other thing I would tell myself, it's gonna sound so silly, but you will. Bad experiences. You will have patients who join and then it will not work out.


It is just the way of it. And I mean, I'm a perfectionist. I think we all are to some extent and you know, they'll join and then, and then they'll leave or they they'll kind of talk to you, but then they'll decide not to sign up. and I used to just always tell myself, you know, , I think it's from it's from.


Can't remember what movie? It's the genie Aladdin, right? You'll never have a friend like me. I used to tell myself you'll never have a doc like me. You'll never have a doc like me. And I would just tell myself that, okay, you'll never have a doc like me. You're gonna go on out there and you're gonna have somebody else, but they're not gonna be as good as I would've been for you, whether that's true or not.


I don't know. But I used to like, give me comfort cuz I would say, okay, I know that I am being the best doctor I possibly can for you. And if you don't see that, then. Okay, so be it, but I know I can be the best doctor you have ever had. I know it. And I think if you tell yourself that as well, it gives you comfort because you will find those patients and then you will be the very best doctor by nature of yourself, your personality, your passion, and what we're doing in DPC.


They're never gonna have this type of medical care anywhere else. So just kind of. Hold onto that because the, the first year it can be a grind. It can be an uphill grind, but that's why we have this community and reach out and listen to other people's stories and talk to other people and realize that you're not by yourself.


And there are people who want to support you and cheer you on. And that's the great and special thing about this DPC community. I know Maryelle has spoken about it and I think we all feel it. And so let's just continue to cheer each other on. Another amen. Dr. Gupta, thank you so much for, for sharing your story today. It, has already, I'm sure made a difference in people's lives and we'll continue to do so in the future.


And I can't wait to see you again in person.


Thank you so much. Maryelle this was such a treat and such a joy. I'm so happy to have been on here.


And, I look forward to seeing you again soon, too.




*Transcript generated by AI, so please forgive errors.

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