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COVID-19 Telemedicine Consults Surge 120%, Non-COVID Demand Levels Off

Nick Severino

April 3, 2020 (Chicago) – During this past week total telemedicine patient consults at First Stop Health were up 57% over pre-COVID levels, a 40% decrease from the prior week.  However, First Stop Health has experienced a 120% increase in the past week for telemedicine patients with COVID-19 issues.  Patients continue to get speedy access to First Stop Health doctors with an average response time of less than 9 minutes.

First Stop Health believes that this decline can be attributed to several factors:

  • Shelter-in-place rules have reduced overall exposure to all contagious diseases
  • The entry of traditional brick and mortar medical facilities into telemedicine, now possible, in part, due to temporarily more lax regulations
  • Seasonal declines in non COVID-19 conditions such as colds and flu

First Stop Health Telemedicine is helping keep people away from medical waiting rooms and providing much-needed advice to anxious patients on how to operate in the presence of the highly contagious COVID-19 virus.

First Stop Health Telemedicine trends since receiving initial COVID-19 patient visit on March 9th:


COVID-19 Visits*

Non-COVID-19 Visits*

Visit Increase Since March 9

Median Doctor Response Time

March 9




<6 minutes

March 16




<15 minutes

March 23




<11 minutes

March 30




<9 minutes

*Percentage of telemedicine visits

According to the CDC, COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have increased more than 270% in the past week.

“People are worried about their health, and our doctors are helping screen patients for coronavirus symptoms,” said Mark Friedman, MD FACEP FACP, chief medical officer at First Stop Health. “We want patients to contact us first instead of risking COVID-19 exposure at their doctor’s office, urgent care or local ER.”

First Stop Health Telemedicine doctors follow CDC guidelines when screening patients.

“If a patient presents to an FSH doctor with fever, cough, and in serious cases, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, the doctor will assess whether or not the patient meets the criteria for a ‘patient under investigation’ or PUI,” said Friedman.

If the patient does not meet the criteria, the doctor treats whatever they believe the illness to be. If the patient does meet the criteria:

  • The doctor advises the patient to remain in respiratory isolation until symptom free for 72 hours.
  • If the patient is experiencing mild symptoms, the doctor will advise against seeking in-person care. If the patient is having difficulty breathing or is in respiratory distress, the doctor advises the patient to dial 911 and let the dispatcher know that they may have COVID-19.
  • First Stop Health will provide information to the patient on how to contact their local health authorities.

Learn more by visiting fshealth.com/coronavirus.

About First Stop Health

First Stop Health provides care that people love. Patients can talk with doctors 24/7 via mobile app, website or phone. We help them save time and money with convenient, high quality care. Our Telemedicine services are only available as an employee benefit program from employers.

Media Contact

Nick Severino | VP, Marketing | First Stop Health

888-691-7867 x-410 | nseverino@fshealth.com

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