True to its name, Innovative Family Medicine and Dr. Katie Cates Panakos are looking to do things a little differently in Derby’s new practice.
Innovative Family Medicine (1144 N. Buckner) will be the first independent practice operated by the Mulvane Panakos native, slated to open in late 2022/early 2023 – pending the arrival of equipment.
Taking ownership of its practice, Panakos brings a new approach to the medical business model for local patients – because innovative family medicine will be a direct primary care practice. To his knowledge, Panakos said his was the first firm in Derby to pursue this approach.
“With typical medicine, we have the insurance companies and a lot of what we do is driven by that,” Panakos said. “The goal of direct primary care is to restore the doctor/patient relationship and to remove the insurance from the middle of that relationship. It allows you to get out of that system and just provide patient care, and I’m really happy about that.
Direct primary care is enrollment-based, charging a monthly fee (based on age) for unlimited office visits. Panakos noted that it is always recommended to have some form of insurance to cover unforeseen events, emergency room visits, hospitalizations, etc.
Plus, with the direct primary care model, Panakos said it gives patients better access to her by any means necessary — including phone calls, emails, FaceTime, and more.
Apart from the direct primary care approach, Innovative Family Medicine will operate like a typical family practice (physical exams, blood tests, etc.) and provide similar services to patients of all ages. The renovated residential space in Buckner’s business district includes two exam rooms, a lab, a waiting room and offices.
Panakos will be able to perform tests, prescribe medications and anything else patients might need – with his 20 years of experience in medicine, much of it in rural areas, giving him a wealth of experience that will benefit to these patients.
“I think all of those experiences have helped because I feel really comfortable with just about anything a person would need, from babies to adults,” Panakos said. “I practice long enough to have seen a lot of things.”
Growing up in Mulvane, Panakos later graduated from Wichita State University before earning her medical degree from the University of Health Sciences School of Medicine. There she met her husband – Constantine – who also practices medicine in Derby (Tanglewood). She then completed her residency at Via Christi in Wichita before spending two decades in family medicine.
For Panakos, she admitted her grandfather was a big reason she went into medicine. He died when she was young, but she recalls his opposition to doctor visits, which greatly shaped his approach to medicine.
“He didn’t like the doctor, so at the time he didn’t really go to the doctor because it wasn’t a positive experience for him,” Panakos said. “There really wasn’t much that could be done at that time to help him. So I went to medical school so I could take good care of people, make them feel comfortable, and have a doctor to talk to.
While Panakos had given up on medicine for a while and wasn’t sure if she would return, a conference on direct primary care convinced her and she admitted that she would have practiced this model “all her life” if she had. had the opportunity.
Since a majority of people either have a high deductible or no insurance, Panakos hopes Innovative Family Medicine will provide another option. As so many issues can now be treated by primary care doctors, she is looking to help as many patients as possible in Derby.
“We really built this with the sole purpose of wanting to take care of patients and have them walk through the door and feel welcomed and comfortable and cared for,” Panakos said. “That’s the point.”