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What Is Hybrid Primary Care & How Does It Work?

Are you interested in hybrid primary care? Hybrid primary care has become more popular in recent years, allowing people to receive most of their health services virtually while also getting in-person care when needed. In this blog, we’ll talk about how hybrid primary care works and how it can help you manage your health needs more conveniently. Read on to learn more, or make your appointment with Circle Medical below to get started with online care!

A Brief Introduction

As with many industries, healthcare has evolved with advancements in technology. The way we access and receive care has changed significantly, and primary care has perhaps come the furthest when it comes to choosing how you go to the doctor. Typically, in-person visits were needed for every primary care service. Now, hybrid primary care has made quality healthcare more accessible and convenient.

As a blend of in-person and virtual healthcare, hybrid primary care offers patients the best of both worlds.

Understanding Primary Care in Today’s World

To get a better understanding of how primary care works, let’s take a look at how traditional primary care and online primary care work in today’s world.

Traditional Primary Care

Traditional primary care has been how the healthcare system has worked for decades. In its simplest form, patients visit their primary care provider in a physical facility where their provider can consult, diagnose and treat them for medical conditions and concerns.

A primary care provider is typically the first point of action in the healthcare system for nonemergency medical concerns. Your primary care provider is responsible for diagnosing and creating treatment plans for a variety of conditions. When the condition needs special treatment, they also have the ability to coordinate your care with specialists and other providers. 

In a traditional primary care setup, the patient will make an appointment ahead of time and go to their primary care provider’s practice to meet with them. While this method has worked for most people, new models have arisen — such as online primary care.

The Rise of Online Primary Care

One major shift in healthcare is the rise of online primary care providers. Online primary care, also referred to as telemedicine or virtual healthcare, is a relatively new way for patients to receive primary care. Online primary care allows patients to connect to their providers remotely, typically through a secure phone connection or video connection.

Online primary care has steadily risen in popularity since it was introduced, thanks to its accessibility and convenience, but it became especially prominent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rather than being a convenience, online primary care became a necessity for many people during the pandemic.

The need for online primary care also led to rapid advancements in virtual healthcare technology, and easy-to-use platforms became more commonplace to make online primary care simpler for everyone.

What Is Hybrid Healthcare?

Traditional healthcare can be more comprehensive, with in-person physicals and tests available during your appointment. However, it’s not easily accessible to everyone, and it’s not usually very convenient. Online healthcare solves the latter two problems but doesn’t always have all the services a patient might need during their appointment.

Enter hybrid healthcare. Hybrid primary care is a model of healthcare that blends in-person healthcare with virtual healthcare. It gives patients the convenience of receiving most of their healthcare services from the comfort of their home while giving them the option of in-person care when necessary.

This allows patients to customize their healthcare to best meet their own wants and needs. In short, a hybrid healthcare model can be an ideal solution for many people.

How Does It Work?

The process of signing up for hybrid care is generally straightforward. First, you need to find a hybrid health care provider that can operate in your state. Once you’ve found your provider, you will usually need to set up an in-person consultation for your first visit. This in-person evaluation will allow your doctor to conduct a physical exam, and you can then follow up virtually with them for most of your other primary care needs.

You will usually have a patient portal or app where you can make appointments, view treatment plans, view prescriptions, ask questions and more. For your primary care appointments, you can speak to your provider over the phone or through video. Your primary care provider can diagnose, prescribe medications and come up with treatment plans through your virtual care. When necessary, they can order lab tests for you to get tested in person or refer you to specialists.

In short, by providing patients with access to virtual consultations and traditional in-person appointments, hybrid primary care enables patients to access healthcare services when and where they need them.

What Are the Benefits?

Hybrid primary care has several benefits for patients. Here are a few of the top benefits of utilizing hybrid primary care:

  • Increased access — Hybrid care makes it much easier for patients in rural or remote areas to access quality care. It also makes it easier for patients with disabilities or immunity concerns to get primary care without having to go through the effort of making it to an in-person clinic.
  • Customized care — A hybrid primary care model allows patients to choose how they want to receive care and customize their services to fit their schedules. They don’t have to deal with taking off work or going to a nearby clinic that doesn’t meet their expectations for quality care. 
  • Convenience — Receiving primary care from the comfort of your own home is not only more comfortable, but it’s also more convenient. You don’t have to drive to the clinic or sit in a waiting room anymore. Instead, you can instantly connect to your provider and get your appointment started right away.

Challenges and Considerations

Before choosing hybrid care, it’s worth considering the disadvantages of both in-person and online care individually and then deciding if hybrid care is the best overall option for you. With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the main challenges of in-person vs online care:

In-person challenges:

Lack of access — If you live in a remote or rural area, you may not have quality healthcare options nearby. Depending on the type of care you need, you may have to travel far just for a checkup.

Inconvenient — Even if you have a primary care provider nearby, it’s not convenient to take off work or school to go to an appointment. Driving to your appointment and sitting in the waiting room takes a lot of time out of your day too.

More exposure — Immunocompromised individuals may have to take extra precautions when going to in-person clinics. Although most health care providers will keep the environment as sterile and clean as possible, there’s always a risk of exposure from other patients.

Online challenges:

Not always available — Depending on where you live, online care may not be an option for you. You’ll need to make sure you can find an online care provider who operates in your state.

Technology barrier — Not everyone has a stable Internet connection or devices needed for online services. Some people might not be comfortable using technology in general, especially if they have security concerns. This is why it is essential to use an online care provider that offers a secure, HIPAA-compliant app experience that ensures data security.

Not as comprehensive — As mentioned, you will sometimes need to go in person for diagnostic testing. This means that online care may not always be as comprehensive as you need it to be.

Ultimately, the decision of a health care provider is yours and yours alone. You should always choose the option that is best for you and makes you the most comfortable. For many people, hybrid offers the perfect compromise since you can still get in-person care if needed while also getting the convenience of online care for most of your healthcare services.

Circle Medical Is Offering Hybrid Care In Select Locations Across the U.S.

If you want to start with a hybrid primary care provider as soon as possible, consider Circle Medical. Circle Medical offers hybrid care in various states, including AZ, CA, CO, DC, FL, IL, NJ, NM, NY, MA, MD, NV, OR, PA, TN, TX, UT, VA and WA. Find our full list of locations here.

Book an appointment with a Circle Medical telehealth provider today!

Circle Medical makes online care easy! You can sign up for a same-day appointment today to get connected with a primary care provider. Schedule your appointment to find out why hybrid primary care is the future of healthcare.

Start your journey with Hybrid Primary Care today.
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