The faculty practice at Duke – the Private Diagnostic Clinic (PDC) - is one of the largest, oldest and most successful in the country. Founded in September 1931 by Dr. Deryl Hart, the PDC currently has 1,500 physician and provider members, manages nearly 80 clinic sites, and delivers top quality health care to more than one million patients each year.
In 1931, one of the important reasons for the PDC's creation was to recruit faculty to the School of Medicine, which was started the previous year. Today, PDC members make up a thriving group of specialty and sub-specialty clinicians, as well as more than 100 primary care providers. Patients travel across the country to receive care from the PDC’s highly-trained providers because of their access to the latest discoveries and clinical trials. The PDC also offers concierge medical services through its Duke Signature Care and Duke Executive Health clinics.
The structure of the PDC has remained largely unchanged since its founding in 1931. It is a member-led, independent organization governed by its own Board of Managers; yet it is closely intertwined with Duke University and Duke University Health System.
PDC members hold a faculty position in the School of Medicine and contribute significantly to Duke’s research and teaching missions. In addition, nearly all of the care delivered in Duke Hospitals is by PDC providers.
The PDC generates funds through the delivery of high-quality patient care. Those funds are used to fairly compensate its providers, operate Duke Health clinics, fund infrastructure expansion, and support the School of Medicine.
Today, PDC members contribute more than $40 million annually to the School of Medicine. Through its Building Fund, PDC members have contributed tens of millions toward the building and renovations of facilities on the Duke Medical Center campus.
Not only have PDC members contributed greatly to Duke University, they also give back to the Durham community. Last year, PDC providers delivered 28,000 episodes of care through Project Access, and $49 million in charity and uncompensated care to thousands more.
Expanding Duke Health’s Footprint
In response to financial and regulatory pressures and the changing health care landscape, in 1996 the PDC affiliated with its first community practice. Since then, nearly 30 more practices have joined the PDC, which has allowed Duke to expand its health care footprint in the region. The largest addition occurred in 2013 with Kernodle Clinic, a 70+ physician group in Alamance County.
These clinicians provide important referrals to Duke Hospitals and extend the reach of Duke Health’s care delivery system to more patients.
In addition to merging with existing practices, the PDC broke ground earlier this year on its first medical facility, a 125,000 square foot, five-story, multi-specialty clinic in west Durham.
Each year, through its “strategic hire” process, the PDC and clinical departments recruit more than 100 new providers.
Positioning the PDC for the Future
In 2014-15, the PDC, under the director of Dr. Mark Newman, Paul Newman and the clinical department chairs, led an effort to develop its first strategic plan. This plan provides a roadmap for the future and is centered around three themes: Putting Patients First, Empowering Providers, and Growing Strategically.
Among its goals for the next five years is to improve the quality, access and delivery of patient care; enhance the experience of all PDC providers, and have stronger integration as a practice and with the system.
The future of health care will be centered around population health, lower cost and higher value care, and increased competition. The PDC is positioning itself to remain a top provider locally, statewide and nationally. With its dedicated members and staff, there's no doubt the PDC will rise to the challenge and continue delivering the highest quality health care to patients for 85 more years.
Learn more about the PDC and its storied past at pdc.dukehealth.org/about-us/85-years