We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Tina Chee, a physician and the founder of Updesign Primary Care, LLC, a Direct Primary Care (DPC) practice located in Syracuse, NY. Dr. Chee shared with us her passion for providing high-quality, personalized care to her patients, and how her DPC model differs from traditional primary care practices.
Q: What inspired you to start your business?
Dr. Chee: I wanted to build a practice where I could spend enough time with each patient to address their individual needs and provide the high-quality care I would want myself. I didn't want to rush patients in and out of the exam room, only to barely scratch the surface of their concerns. DPC provides the opportunity to provide more personalized and individualized care, and by eliminating overly burdensome administrative checkboxes like coding, billing, and prior authorizations, I can focus more of my resources on patient care.
Q: Can you describe what sets your business apart from others in your industry?
Dr. Chee: DPC patients are one of a few hundred instead of one of several thousand. By removing the middlemen, DPC puts the focus of the relationship back between patients and their doctors. In DPC, an affordable monthly membership gets you better appointment access, extended visit times (30-60 minutes), direct communication access (text, email, or call), and virtually unlimited scheduled appointments for wellness counseling, physical, chronic disease management, scheduled sick visits, and much more. This allows us to work on fully optimizing your health and wellness through lifestyle changes, so that you can feel at your best self and potentially reduce the number of medications necessary. Membership gets you deeply discounted pricing for in-office medications and treatments. Membership also includes access to a generic medication formulary.
Q: What's your best piece of advice for someone just starting out?
Dr. Chee: Just get started - take a small step every day, eventually those steps become easier. Don't be afraid to take a leap of faith and pursue your passion.
Q: What has been your biggest professional challenge and how did you overcome it?
Dr. Chee: More and more corporations are trying to replace physicians with non-physician practitioners, and by allowing non-physicians to practice more independently, and patients are being put at risk. A huge challenge for me has been seeing patients being misled, not realizing people in white coats who call themselves "doctors" and "specialists" may not be physicians, and seeing patients being told incorrect medical information by non-physicians, including incorrect workup, medication adjustments, vaccine recommendations, overprescribing antibiotics and steroids.
In addition to reporting these issues and educating my patients to be aware of them, I became an active member of Physicians for Patient Protection, which educates about the importance of physician-led care for all patients and advocates for truth and transparency regarding healthcare practitioners. I would encourage people to read the book "Patients At Risk" for more information on this topic as well.
Q: Any exciting news, future plans, or projects you are working on or would like to announce?
Dr. Chee: I'm starting a walking group and other health issue support groups this year. The details are still being finalized, but I'm excited to provide my patients with more opportunities to connect with others and improve their overall health and wellbeing.
Q: What's your favorite non-business activity and why?
Dr. Chee: Playing with my dog Jasper - he's a bullboxer mix rescue - and taking care of my houseplants. Both activities help me unwind and destress after a long day at the office.
812 State Fair Blvd, Suite 2A
Syracuse, NY 13209