How Does a Virtual Primary Care Appointment Work?

June 7, 2022

Emily Kunisch

The Virtual Primary Care journey is different for everyone. Whether it’s a routine checkup, mental health inquiry or specialist recommendation, Virtual Primary Care is a convenient, cost-effective solution that creates a unique member experience.  

Here is an example of a member's experience to show just how unique a Virtual Primary Care visit can be. 

The 23-Day Virtual Primary Care Journey  

This member had not seen any healthcare provider in 2 years and was seeking treatment for an ongoing issue and a dermatologist referral.  

Day 1 

This member requested a visit via our mobile app with a First Stop Health (FSH) Virtual Primary Care doctor of their choosing. Members can choose a doctor based on age, race or gender to ensure the best and most comfortable patient experience. There was availability to meet with a doctor two days later. On the same day, a nurse practitioner reached out to the member for an intake call to review medical history and the concerns the member wanted to address with the doctor.  

Day 3 

The Virtual Primary Care appointment took place. The doctor reviewed and addressed the ongoing and dermatological concerns that the member shared 2 days prior. The doctor also ordered labs for bloodwork as part of the member’s annual physical.  

Following the appointment, the member received a comprehensive follow-up with 3 dermatologist recommendations who were in-network, taking appointments in a reasonable amount of time and in the geographic proximity of the member’s choosing. Through FSHs partnership with LabCorp, this member also had the ability to go to any LabCorp location to complete their lab work. We even provided a LabCorp locator link for ease. As part of the organic conversation with the doctor, the member shared ongoing issues of which the follow-up shared best next steps and easy treatment options.  

Day 5 

The patient visited a LabCorp of their choosing to complete their lab work. Through the electronic referral, no paperwork was needed to complete this visit. On this day, the member also received a phone call from one of the in-network dermatologists since there was a new appointment available due to a cancellation.  

Day 18 

FSH received the member’s lab results through our EMR (Electronic Medical Records) system and reached out to schedule a follow-up appointment to review results. The member’s email contained a link to schedule an appointment with their FSH primary care doctor.  

Day 23 

The follow-up appointment took place and based on the results of the bloodwork, this member learned they had some vitamin deficiencies. The doctor recommended supplements and a treatment plan. 

Another comprehensive follow-up email was sent to the member which included how to best address the vitamin deficiencies, a reminder to schedule a dermatologist appointment and an appointment link to schedule another appointment with their FSH primary care doctor 6 months after their last visit.  

Shortening the Primary Care Journey 

According to a recent survey, 1 in 5 patients have changed their doctors due to long wait times to get an appointment, and 84% of people believe wait time is either somewhat important or very important to the overall patient experience at a doctor’s office.1 With Virtual Primary Care, however, member wait times are immensely reduced with a turnaround time of 1-3 days – down considerably from wait times ranging from 3 weeks to 3 months.2 Specialist wait times are even longer. In some states, patients experience wait times of more than 60 days to get specialist care.3 

The member’s experience mentioned above was significantly faster than traditional, in-person primary care. It was also a more convenient and cost-effective option. Since Virtual Primary Care runs outside of the insurance plan, there are no claims and no steerage or PBM (Pharmacy Benefits Manager) conflicts of interest.  

First Stop Health Virtual Primary Care 

Virtual Primary Care is comprised of urgent care, preventive care and chronic care. Urgent care is available to members 24/7 for non-emergency, episodic health issues. Preventive care encompasses routine check-ups and lab or screening referrals to track overall health. Finally, chronic care is the treatment and maintenance of ongoing health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or obesity. 

Learn more about our Virtual Primary Care solution

  1. https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/practices/ppatients-switched-doctors-long-wait-times-vitals 
  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucejapsen/2017/03/19/doctor-wait-times-soar-amid-trumpcare-debate/?sh=5f3292052e74 
  3. https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/vermont/articles/2022-02-16/report-finds-long-wait-times-for-some-medical-specialists 

Originally published Jun 7, 2022 11:30:00 AM.