Businesses are clamoring for virtual primary care, as it keeps employees healthy and happy while driving down overall healthcare costs – two major concerns for pretty much every company right now. However, there is a keen differentiator among the slew of new virtual primary care solutions that directly impacts the success of a program: the ability to choose your own virtual primary doctor.  

Primary care doctors serve as the medical homebase for a wide range of healthcare needs. From wellness checks and routine screenings to non-emergency services and chronic illness management, the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion links primary care to positive health outcomes and greater life expectancy.

At the heart of primary care is the patient-doctor relationship. In the best-case scenario, patients trust their doctors, lean on them for medical counsel and abide by the guidance they provide. In such relationships, the full benefits of primary care can be realized.

Today, many employers are opting for virtual primary care solutions to meet employee demands, increase convenience and lower overall healthcare costs. However, few of these programs allow patients to select a doctor they can grow with over time.

Discover why it’s important for employees to choose their own virtual primary care provider – and why improving their overall healthcare experience can even increase the bottom line.

Thoughtful Connections

Our patient data indicates at least 80% of primary care concerns can be diagnosed and managed without an in-person visit. That said, virtual primary care won’t be as effective if the patient is assigned to the first-available doctor without their input. One-time connections don’t enable the doctor to build a rapport with their patient.  On the contrary, employees who choose their own provider will have the opportunity to build a relationship – and build trust – over time. This benefits both doctor and patient.

Relationship Building

A 2017 Family Medicine for America’s Health study found that 89% of Americans value their relationship with their primary care doctor. At the core of this relationship are four key elements: mutual knowledge, trust, loyalty and regard.

  • Knowledge refers to how well the patient and doctor know each other. Visiting the same provider ensures the doctor is well-versed in the patient’s medical history and the patient understands the doctor’s relevant qualifications and experience.
  • Trust involves the patient’s faith in the doctor’s competence and compassion. But trust goes both ways: it also includes the doctor’s confidence in the patient’s ability to recount their symptoms – and whether additional information is required to form the right treatment plan and ensure the best outcome.
  • Loyalty is a patient’s willingness to forgive a doctor after a mistake, as well as the doctor’s dedication to the patient.
  • Regard implies that patients believe the doctor is on their side, and doctors feel as though their patient likes and respects them as an individual.  

These four components are essential to a genuine patient-doctor relationship, which can only be achieved through ongoing visits with the same provider.

Higher Quality Care

Strong patient-doctor bonds may also increase quality of care. Harvard University reported a good relationship leads to better communication, which improves diagnoses. This also makes people feel more comfortable sharing symptoms they might not otherwise disclose. Similarly, patients are more likely to adhere to a recommended treatment plan when they trust their provider and believe the treatment will work, which can improve the patient’s outcomes.

How This Benefits Employers

Today’s workforce expects healthcare benefits to meet all wellness needs at the right price while remaining accessible, convenient and easy to understand. Employees who receive high-quality guidance from a primary care doctor they know and trust tend to be more engaged, loyal and productive.

Connecting workers with the right virtual provider boosts the bottom line, too, from lower per-visit fees to better long-term health outcomes. Virtual rates also tend to be lower than traditional primary care.

Learn more about our comprehensive virtual primary care solutions.

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