Virtual care that works

How to get convenient, high-quality, and coordinated care

June 21, 2021

Virtual health care or “telehealth” has been available in different forms for many years, however, historically adoption was low, and patients still preferred in-person care options. Due to the need to access care remotely during the pandemic, consumers and care providers alike had to rapidly scale up adoption and utilization of this mode of care.  As a result, many consumers have experienced the associated increase in convenience and don’t want to go back to driving across town and sitting in waiting rooms if they don’t have to.

In addition, the change in regulations allowing for reasonable payment to medical providers has made it more viable for them to deliver this kind of care.  This “payment parity” has resulted in dozens of venture-capital-sponsored start-ups having rapidly stood up virtual care platforms that offer a myriad of options with little to no track record for providing medical care.

The result is a “wild west” phenomenon in virtual care with consumers and plan sponsors offered a dizzying array of options for care and no clear way to distinguish the quality of the care being provided.  Some platforms offer a great member experience and others are built based on clinical efficacy. Billing and prices also vary significantly with some charging a monthly access fee and some charging even if the provider just tells you to go to a bricks and mortar facility. Most of them suffer from lack of care coordination that can result in duplicative or even inappropriate medical care.  It also requires an immense amount of effort to research all of the options available to consumers and employers; meaning you could spend all your time in 2021 evaluating scope, specialty, quality, cost, experience, and appropriateness.

There is an obvious solution and one that many consumers think of before being confused by the options being sold to them; could I just keep working with my current doctor? While many  health systems have lagged behind in offering timely access, convenience, and a member-centric approach to care this has been changing. MultiCare Indigo was designed from the ground up, launched in 2016, and now includes over 30 locations as well as virtual care through their app. Embright builds on this and other resources that are already integrated into the care delivery systems in our network. Members experience  the best of all worlds virtual health care product- one that combines a convenient, timely, and easy-to-navigate platform combined with high-quality, local, and vetted clinicians. The care provided is integrated and coordinated with the rest of their medical care and can even include their own existing doctor.

Virtual care with your own doctor and their partners is available today with Embright.  Embright only offers primary and specialty care services that are appropriate for the mode of care and creates a single place for members to access all their needs.   One should ask themselves who they trust more to provide appropriate, accountable, high-quality care- experienced medical providers utilizing new IT platforms, or IT companies that are newly delving into medical care? As another example UW Medicine has built eConsults right into their Electronic Medical Records for all members. This functionality allows PCPs to quickly confer with specialists and provide treatment information to members. 

All these data points lead to one, optimal path for consumers to receive virtual care, which is through an existing, longitudinal relationship with a primary care doctor and/or within the medical system you normally seek care. This builds on Embright’s goal of ensuring that members always have easy access to the right care in the right setting with the right providers.

In addition to the many, well-quantified benefits of having a primary care relationship (better outcomes, lower cost, higher satisfaction), seeking virtual care through your usual care provider allows the care to be coordinated. You don’t have to “start from scratch” with every encounter and it ensures the ability to make sure the care you get won’t inadvertently contradict your existing care plans. You can also ensure that someone is accountable for follow up and follow-through so you’re not left hanging in a virtual state of confusion.

Virtual care with your existing doctor and medical system provides all the convenience without losing the normal protections and coordination that you expect

Embright’s Virtual Care includes

  • No additional costs or setup for members and employers
  • Phone, video, and text-based care
  • Access 24/7 from any location
  • Full integration with existing health records
  • Access to many doctors in the Embright network
  • Predictable and affordable pricing

Watch how CINs help coordinate care.