SeeThru Spotlight: Dr. Phil Eskew, DO, JD, MBA — Founder and CEO of Frontier DPC and avid physician advocate.

INTERVIEW BY: Nathan Carroll
EDITED BY: Adi Y. Segal

This week our spotlight features Dr. Phil Eskew, DO, MBA, JD. Lawyer, doctor, business leader, Phil works to bring his expertise and support to DPC practices. His training and education give him a unique and welcome perspective on healthcare.

What brought you to advise SeeThru?
Adi [SeeThru’s CEO] contacted me via email and we had a few good phone calls. We both want to see more price transparency in healthcare, and that shared vision made working together easy.

Describe the biggest change that you’ve seen in the healthcare space over the last 20 years.
More patients are willing to ask an important question “how much does it cost?”

What do you view as the biggest challenge for patients today?
They rarely have a physician willing to take the time to hear all their concerns and tell them about all their options. There are too many algorithms out there, and too many patients are placed in the wrong algorithm, and then never properly treated.

Could you tell me more about your educational path? Was the MBA, JD, DO always the plan or it did it develop along the way?
I was an accounting and chemistry major in college. I finished college a year early and knew that I wanted to go to med school, but I also knew that if I went straight to medical school I would lack additional training in other areas that required time and attention if I was going to address health care system problems. The MBA was fun, but it wasn’t enough, so I added the law degree prior to medical school as well. I’m glad I took the detours. The dual background has been critical to my work for the rest of the DPC community.

Phil Eskew, DO, JD, MB: Leader in Direct Primary Care.

Taking into consideration your DO, JD, MBA degrees and your experience founding Frontier DPC, what perspective do you have in regards to the future of the practice of medicine? What should we be on the lookout for?
Loss of physician independence is the greatest threat to American medicine. The more physicians we have employed with large hospital systems following protocols of businessmen/epidemiologists/
etc (those without medical training), the more problems we will have.

The great irony is that the laws on the books designed to protect the practice of medicine often create more problems. Corporate practice of medicine laws typically exempt HMOs and hospitals — the two groups that are most likely to tell a physician how to practice. DPC is growing steadily. We need to ensure that it grows in a way that preserves the integrity of the model. As more and more groups (employers, local governments, state governments) become interested in the model we have to ensure that their efforts to help fund patient membership fees don’t interfere with the patient’s incentive to care about the total cost of care or the patient’s ability to select the DPC physician of their choosing.

Rapid Fire Round

A) List one fact people would be surprised to learn about you.
I’ve got about fifty ripe tomatoes in my backyard (in Wyoming).

B) If there was a play based on your life, what would be its title?
The Truth is Your Sword

C) Batman vs Superman. Who wins? Please defend your choice.
Batman — he does his homework and uses technology based in reality rather than fictional superpowers. Christopher Nolan made sure that Batman was the best superhero ever put to film.

Nathan Carroll is a medical student and MBA candidate at Rowan University. When not buried in the books, he is usually training in martial arts or playing with his dog. He can be reached at nate@seethru.healthcare.