New Data: MDLIVE Reports Virtual Primary Care Closes Critical Gaps in Care Among Disengaged Patients, Chronic Disease Sufferers
MIRAMAR, Fla., June 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Propelled by a surge in consumer demand for telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic, MDLIVE released new data today revealing that virtual primary care services – annual wellness exams and other routine visits with primary care doctors via telehealth – are gaining substantial traction in the United States. The use of telehealth for primary care, not just acute or emergent needs, is filling a critical need and actively addressing one of the health care industry’s thorniest challenges amidst the pandemic: reconnecting people with primary care services that can help identify and prevent common, chronic and costly health conditions. This data was presented today at the annual Association of Health Insurance Providers (AHIP) 2021 Institute & Expo.
Seventy percent of preventive care patients in MDLIVE’s virtual primary care (VPC) program had no primary care visit in the previous 24 months, and fewer than 25% of those patients reported having a primary care provider, according to the MDLIVE study. Among the 15 million covered members in its VPC program, 68% of patients who did preventive care visits have at least one chronic disease.
“Closing gaps in primary, preventive care is a cornerstone strategy in supporting patients, improving outcomes and reducing costs,” said Dr. Cynthia Zelis, chief medical officer, MDLIVE. “This data indicates that there is tremendous and very tangible enthusiasm for virtual primary care as a critical component of whole person health.”
Annual wellness visits and preventive care have been shown to reduce overall costs and improve outcomes.i However, as many as one in three (35%) adults under 50ii does not have a primary care provider, and it’s estimated that 150 million adults skip or forgo an annual check-up.iii
A myriad of social determinants create barriers to preventative care, leading to poor outcomes. Patients with unmet transportation needs are more than 2.5 times as likely to report multiple ER visits over a 12-month period.iv Studies have revealed logistical barriers such as having to take time off from workv as well as negative emotions tied to visiting a doctor’s office.vi
More broadly, the U.S. is facing thinning ranks of primary care providers, with an estimated shortage of as many as 55,000 primary care physicians by 2033.vii Patients are also challenged by limited provider office hours and availability.viii
According to MDLIVE’s data, 38% of virtual primary care visits happened outside of normal office hours, with 25% taking place weekday evenings and 13% occurring on weekends. Its VPC program also addresses dissatisfaction in traditional care that can contribute to non-adherence or disengagement from preventive care: the VPC program achieved an 88% satisfaction rate among patients who participated in the program, and a 93% satisfaction rate among VPC providers.
“Many of the persistent barriers to preventive care have little to do with the care itself and have far more to do with issues of convenience, cost and coverage,” said Mindy Heintskill, chief growth officer, MDLIVE. “The virtual primary care service is built to fit more efficiently into people’s lives by providing convenient access and minimal wait times, and enabling labs to be completed before the primary care visit; thereby eliminating the need for follow up for many patients. We’ve designed the entire patient experience to deliver high-quality, convenient access to primary care to help people live healthier lives.”
In January 2020, MDLIVE was the first national telehealth provider to make virtual primary care widely available through health plan partners. The service was built to enable patients to develop ongoing relationships with virtual primary care providers who can order labs, conduct annual wellness screenings, and provide follow-up care, including chronic condition management and specialist referrals. In the near future, MDLIVE primary care providers will be able to help patients better manage their conditions through remote patient monitoring. The platform also provides patients who already have PCPs with access to interim primary care when their doctor isn’t available, or an office visit isn’t convenient for them. Current parent company Cigna became the first MDLIVE partner to offer virtual care for preventive checkups, beginning in the second quarter of 2020.
MDLIVE, an Evernorth company, is a leading provider of virtual health care services in the U.S. with more than 60 million members nationwide. We work with our health plan, health system, and self-insured employer partners to give patients convenient and affordable access to the highest quality medical and behavioral health care, 24/7, from the comfort and safety of their homes. With a vision and passion for changing health care for the better, we are working to improve the patient experience, close the patient-provider accessibility gap, and bring providers opportunities to augment the services they currently offer. To learn more about MDLIVE, visit www.MDLIVE.com, download our app, or text “Sophie” to MDLIVE (635483) to register.
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SOURCE MDLIVE, Inc.