The healthcare industry has been plagued with disparities in access and quality of care for marginalized communities, particularly Black patients. With the rapid expansion of virtual care, it is important to ensure that all patients, regardless of race, have equal access to high-quality care.
With this in mind, CirrusMD and a large national client conducted a 7- month study to assess racial equity levels delivered by physicians in a virtual care environment.
About the Study
Using racial data provided by the employer, this study analyzed 1,600 Black and 6,500 White patients receiving virtual care to determine if there were any disparities in care, or differences in clinical outcomes or patient satisfaction.
Study results demonstrate that CirrusMD’s physician-led, on demand virtual care is delivered equitably, with corresponding patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes for both Black and White patients.
Read on for the interesting variance that was found between the two groups.
A Deeper Look
This study examined the use of virtual care within groups of Black and White patients, across a range of ages, geographic regions, job functions and roles.
A review of ICD-10 codes indicates that both cohorts had similar medical and behavioral reasons for using CirrusMD, and experienced the same levels of satisfaction and outcomes.
Notably, both population groups experienced similar medical issues and outcomes, and reported equivalent levels of satisfaction when utilizing CirrusMD.
However, the study uncovered a significant difference in healthcare utilization patterns between the two groups in the absence of virtual care. When patients were asked what they would have done to seek care if CirrusMD had not been available to them, 19% of Black patients said they would have gone to a hospital Emergency Department, the most expensive site of care, compared to 8% of White patients.
This is especially important when one considers the cost associated with these care journeys had there not been a virtual care option.
These varying diversion outcomes, and the outsized effects they can have on the cost of care for one racial cohort, illuminate the potential for virtual care to act as the great equalizer.
At CirrusMD, we believe that healthcare needs to work for everyone. That means removing the obstacles that introduce an undue burden for some patients — like occupational environment, lack of English proficiency, or other social determinants of health — and instead providing direct, always-on access to a team of primary care and specialist physicians who can treat and guide all patients on their care journey.
Our initial research study validates that CirrusMD is making significant progress in reducing racial bias in healthcare and providing an equitable environment for all patients to seek care.
CirrusMD delivers on-demand, virtual urgent, primary, and acute care. In less than a minute, patients reach a licensed physician through our chat-based app, then conduct a care encounter at their pace and convenience. CirrusMD's integrated care is delivered by multi-speciality, board-certified doctors who can treat a broad range of conditions, from acute to chronic, and from primary care to specialty areas, including behavioral health. CirrusMD is available to millions of users across all 50 states, and exclusively offered through employers and health plans.