Virtual Primary Care Journey: Mental Health Concern Addressed in Less Than 24 Hours

July 26, 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.   

Initial Visit 

This member requested an appointment and was able to meet with a virtual doctor the following day. On the day the member requested an appointment, they had an intake call with a First Stop Health (FSH) nurse practitioner to review health history and concerns.  

The member had 3 health concerns they wanted to address:  

  1. Dermatology: For a referral to an in-network doctor in a convenient location.  
  2. Mental Health: For help with at-home stress (young children and family member’s health concern) and work stress.  
  3. Dietary Guidance: For planning a healthier diet.  

Follow-Up 

Following the appointment with the doctor, in which all concerns were addressed, the member received a detailed follow-up summary. In the summary, there were 4 dermatologist recommendations to in-network providers that were in a convenient geographic location and accepting new members. Because FSH does outreach to in-network providers to ensure they’re accepting new patients, this member received a call from one of the recommended dermatologists just 5 days after the initial virtual visit. 

The follow-up also included notes for the member’s dietary plan that was discussed with the doctor. As mental health was one of the main drivers for the appointment, the doctor prescribed a new medication to support the member’s anxiety. Medication information was also summarized in the follow-up. The new prescription was sent to the member’s pharmacy of choice and picked up the same morning as the appointment.  

In summary, all of the members’ needs were accounted for in just two weeks – and in this case, less than 24 hours for their mental health concerns.  

Mental Health Support 

This member was able to address their mental health concerns with a doctor in under one day after requesting an appointment and received their new medication shortly thereafter. PCPs (primary care physicians) prescribe more mental health medications than a psychiatrist, on average, due to their treating a patient holistically, which includes their mental health.1  

The typical wait time to see a psychiatrist in the U.S. is 25 days and, in some cases, the wait time is more than 90 days.2 Wait times to see a PCP are a bit lower at 24 days.3 Visits with a Virtual Primary Care doctor lower these wait times significantly with patients waiting no longer than 4 days to see a doctor. It removes personal barriers such as transportation, time off work and childcare for patients – meeting members where they are to provide an easy, convenient healthcare experience.  

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 diabeteshigh blood pressure or obesity. There are no costs or predefined limits on the number of visits for FSH members. 

Learn more about our Virtual Primary Care solution

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3670434/ 
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/grand-rounds/202107/fundamental-changes-are-needed-in-mental-health-care#:~:text=Here's%20some%20data%3A%20One%20study,who%20need%20inpatient%20psychiatric%20care. 
  3. https://www.healthcaredive.com/news/americans-wait-an-average-24-days-to-get-a-new-patient-appointment/438531/ 

Originally published Jul 26, 2022 6:41:45 PM.