The Perks of Primary Care in an Integrated System

Dr. David Craigie
Family Medicine Physician

Some people are fortunate to realize their passion at a young age. This was certainly the case for Dr. David Craigie, who wrote a medical “book” at age 7 – a career-launching effort that he admits bore a strong resemblance to The How and Why Wonder Book of the Human Body.

Dr. Craigie spent most of his childhood living in Colorado and then moved to Texas to attend Abilene Christian University and subsequently University of Texas Medical School at Houston. During his rotations, he discovered that he enjoyed everything from surgery to psychiatry.

“I was determined to find a specialty that wouldn’t become monotonous, doing the same thing, all day, every day. I appreciated the variety of primary care and especially that I could care for people of all ages in family medicine,” says Dr. Craigie. “I’ve always been intrigued by people’s stories – they have interesting lives, jobs or family situations. It’s fun to get to know patients on a personal basis, and often we become friends.”

Dr. Craigie returned to Colorado to complete his residency at Saint Joseph Hospital. He then partnered with a fellow resident to open a private practice. Dr. Craigie served patients in the Cherry Creek area for seven years.

“It was a tough time in medicine where private practices were fighting for business. Our practice was sponsored by a local hospital. When the hospital was acquired, they offered me the option to close our practice or buy them out. I decided to join Colorado Permanente Medical Group.”

In his more than 20 years with CPMG, Dr. Craigie has had the opportunity to work at four of Kaiser Permanente’s medical offices. He began at the East Denver and Englewood Medical Offices, later moving south into the suburbs as Kaiser Permanente’s reach expanded. Dr. Craigie assisted in opening medical offices in Highlands Ranch and then Castle Rock, where he served as Primary Care Chief for three years. Now, he enjoys an eight-minute commute to work.

“I’ve found that there are a multitude of benefits to working in Kaiser Permanente’s integrated system in comparison to my experience in private practice. When I ran my own business, there was much more stress. It was hard to take a vacation because that meant the practice wouldn’t be making any money while I was away. If my partner couldn’t cover call, I’d be responsible for it. It was exhausting.”

“At CPMG, it’s nice to know that I don’t have to worry about being paged at 2 a.m. to go to the hospital. I greatly appreciate my CPMG colleagues who have committed to doing that based on their specialty, but for me, I’m happy to work hard during the day and know that my evenings are free,” adds Dr. Craigie.  

Kaiser Permanente is also able to provide more comprehensive resources to members than would be possible in private practice. Members have access to registered dietitians, financial counselors and other services, including nurses that can provide follow-up care after a hospitalization. One particularly helpful service that Dr. Craigie uses to manage his patients’ care is Kaiser Permanente’s Clinical Pharmacy Anticoagulation Service. Clinical pharmacists keep in touch with patients on blood thinning medications to ensure they’re getting the tests they need and are educated about how to use their medications.

“It’s a much better system than if I tracked this for all of my patients on my own, and it has been shown to decrease the number of complications for our members on blood thinners,” Dr. Craigie comments.

To learn more about Dr. David Craigie’s experience working in the integrated Kaiser Permanente system, read part two of his story.

To learn more about working for CPMG, click here