Why virtual primary care is the future of healthcare

Telehealth. Telemedicine. Remote care. These are all terms that encapsulate the idea of bringing medical care to patients over distance through technology. We prefer "virtual primary care. Whatever you call it, it's clear that in 2020 patients have become accustomed to getting much of their care virtually — wherever they want.

At first glance, virtual primary care might seem like just another passing symptom of COVID-19. But its increasing and sustained popularity suggests otherwise. Here’s what you need to know about virtual primary care and Firefly’s unique approach. 

What is virtual primary care
(and how does it work)?

Simply put, virtual primary care is a form of primary care that leverages technology to give patients convenient face time with their primary care provider(s). The entire visit can be done from wherever, whenever. All you need is a smartphone, tablet or laptop. No need to leave work early to beat traffic on the way to the doctor’s office or waste time sitting in a waiting room.

While the method remains pretty consistent across the board, not all virtual primary care providers share the same approach. As you look for a virtual primary care provider, it’s important to choose the practice that resonates most with your health goals.
 
At Firefly, we believe in a holistic approach to primary care. That means our patients don’t just get access to a primary care provider but a whole care team that really takes the time to listen and get to know every unique person. Every patient gets a personalized experience with their needs at the center.

The best part? 

Your entire care team is always available through our app. Video chat with your clinician from anywhere, message your health guide with a quick question, to send a photo, or request a prescription refill in no time. It’s the most convenient way to get the care you deserve.

Where does traditional primary care fall short?

Besides the obvious, there are few notable differences between virtual and traditional primary care. We have heard time and time again from our patients about the struggles they’ve had with their previous healthcare relationships. Some key frustrations about their traditional primary care experiences were:

Lack of responsiveness
Lack of equality
Lack of empathy and caring
Their PCP not taking responsibility
Feeling judged, disempowered, or invalidated


How is virtual primary care different from traditional primary care?

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Responsiveness and continuous contact

No more waiting for a yearly physical to run through a list of your questions before being rushed out. Your health is complex and deserves ongoing maintenance. We focus on great care during your visits, but also incredible support between the visits. Our clinicians will always follow up and you can reach us through the app anytime.

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Direct access to a collaborative care team

With virtual primary care at Firefly you get an entire team focused on your health. That includes a physician, nurse practitioner and health guide, as well as behavioral support, if needed, all at your fingertips. No more Googling symptoms, anxiety while you wait to hear back from your doctor, or having to piece things together for yourself.

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Humanity through partnership and clear guidance

From urgent care to chronic conditions and specialist referrals, our team of warm and compassionate clinicians is here to help you navigate it all to create meaningful health outcomes. We will ensure that you feel seen and heard, and although we can handle most primary care virtually, we also have an amazing network of in-person partners to lean on.

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How is virtual primary care different from telehealth?

While telehealth has kept many people safe during the pandemic, allowing them to have one-off medical interventions remotely, many of these interactions are transactional and lack continuity.
 
Virtual primary care maintains the best parts of the important relationships formed in traditional care, but takes it even further with state-of-the-art communications technology for refreshingly convenient and personalized service.

Firefly’s care team providers are your long term healthcare partners and take responsibility for your health with frequent check-ins and customized care plans. Our holistic approach also incorporates behavioral and mental health support when needed.
  

What can virtual primary care treat?

Virtual primary care can cover most health needs via phone, video visit or in-app messaging. We can virtually fill prescriptions or provide referrals, create care plans for disease prevention through lifestyle changes (such as diet and exercise), manage chronic conditions (such as diabetes and hypertension), diagnose and treat most acute illnesses, and provide mental health support as well. For more details on exactly what issues we treat, check out our services page

What can virtual primary care not treat?

We do recognize there are times it's best to be seen in person. With a large network of in-person partners, we'll make sure you get the best care possible for things such as in-person acute and urgent care, lab tests, diagnostics and specialist referrals.

About Firefly Health

Firefly Health was born from the belief that people deserved more than our broken healthcare system. We wanted to create a service that provided more people easier access to better primary care. Thanks to an empathy-driven virtual approach, a world-class clinical team, a trusted partner network and intuitive technology built around people, we can turn that vision into a reality.

TOP FAQs

Still have questions? We have answers.

What medical needs does Firefly address?

Firefly Health is a virtual-first alternative to traditional primary care. Our personal care teams are available on demand to help you with common conditions like back pain, stomach flu, sinus infections, and women’s health issues. Many of these conditions can be safely managed without needing an in-person visit. Should you need an in-person diagnostic test or procedure, we have an extensive, curated network of partners that either offer in-home service or are located in communities across the states where we practice. In addition to care when you’re sick, we help you stay healthy by making sure you get everything you need to prevent cancer, heart attacks and other serious diseases. We help you be your best self by supporting your goals like losing weight, quitting smoking, or sleeping better. We have advanced approaches to supporting you to manage chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure. And, finally, if you have more complicated health issues, we partner with the best specialists to seamlessly offer you the best treatment science has to offer.

I’m new to virtual care / telehealth. What if I need to be seen in person?

While your physician-led Firefly care team practices 100% virtually, we realize there are times you may need to be seen in person. Should you need an in-person diagnostic test or procedure, we have an extensive, curated network of partners that either offer in-home service or are located in communities across the states where we practice. We’re available on demand by video and chat whenever you’re sick or have an urgent health need and we proactively support you over our app to stay healthy and manage any chronic conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes. We’re equipped to safely manage many conditions without needing an in-person visit.

Can I keep my current Primary Care Provider (PCP) if I sign up for Firefly?

A Firefly Health medical doctor (MD) or nurse practitioner (NP) will be your new primary care provider (PCP). All of our PCPs work on teams that include an MD, NP and a health guide. Most of the time, our NPs are on point, available on-demand and providing continuous support for all routine care. Firefly MDs collaborate with and support our NPs on complex workups and illnesses and are available to meet with our members on request and on demand. We're happy to work with your current PCP to transfer your records and ensure seamless continuity of care.

frequently asked questions

Can I keep my current Primary Care Provider (PCP) if I sign up for Firefly?
What if I need to see a provider in person?
What medical needs does Firefly address?

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