Virtual Primary Care
Virtual primary care—primary health care services delivered online or via phone—has increased in popularity as telemedicine has become more prominent. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, telemedicine allowed more people to access healthcare services remotely. Now, virtual primary care is an increasingly preferred means to receive health care without going to a physical doctor’s office. With virtual primary care, people can receive comprehensive health care services from the comfort of their homes. The following article discusses virtual primary care, who delivers it, and why online health care is important.
Virtual Primary Care Explained
Virtual primary care is a way to receive primary health care services without needing to go to an in-person doctor’s office. Such care can be thought of in three parts: 24/7 urgent care services, chronic care, and preventative screenings. Virtual primary care can be used to manage chronic conditions like diabetes, or it can be used to screen for issues like anxiety and depression through the administration of questionnaire-based screenings. Additionally, doctors can write prescriptions for some acute illnesses during virtual visits that do not require an in-person assessment.
Virtual Primary Care Delivery
A variety of doctors provide virtual primary health care, and it is more than just urgent care services. Virtual primary care doctors are licensed to prescribe ongoing medication, schedule follow-up visits and refer patients to other specialists. Further, most virtual providers have a workforce of physicians, nurse practitioners, and care coordinators to ensure that patients receive the comprehensive care they need. While urgent care generally only helps patients treat immediate health concerns, virtual primary care is a digital alternative to long-term, whole-body care.
There are also a variety of organizations that provide virtual primary care. For example, digital health companies have begun to contract with employers to provide it to employees, and some previously in-person practices moved entirely online due to the pandemic.
The Importance of Online Health Care
There are several reasons that virtual primary care is important. Foremost, online health services expand access to health care more generally. People who may not have access to in-person providers now have the option to get substantial care online. Further, online health care is more convenient for most people, even if traveling to in-person offices may be an option for them. Meeting with providers online can be much faster and help people receive the care they need more quickly.
Additionally, virtual primary health care is often less expensive than traditional medical visits, as it can reduce costs associated with traveling to see a doctor or taking time off from work.
Virtual primary care is an efficient, cost-effective way for more people to access health care more easily. While not every doctor’s visit will be able to happen online, many will, and it is worthwhile to look into which virtual care options are available to you.
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