Why Your Virtual Doctor Should Be a Real Physician

The surge in virtual care usage over the past few years has created a basic level of understanding about what constitutes a virtual visit. From there the specifics get hazy though. Especially with regards to how medical care is practiced.


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One line of thinking suggests that virtual care be a blend of patient-facing symptom checkers and chatbots that perform diagnostic and intake work, supplemented with medical care  from clinicians.

Another line of thinking suggests that virtual care providers should deliver human-centered, personalized care for the entirety of a consultation, using technology on the backend for decision support.

At CirrusMD, we feel this second approach to virtual care delivers far better outcomes and is more aligned with what patients want.

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Why Humans Make Better Virtual Doctors Than Bots

If you reduce healthcare to its most basic, what patients really want is to:

  • Consult with a doctor right away about most any medical condition
  • Have an unrushed, in-depth consultation, and follow-up care if necessary
  • Bypass the drudgery of waiting rooms, intake forms and appointment scheduling

That’s what patients largely want from healthcare in general and virtual care services in particular.

But that’s definitely not what they get from most online doctor visits, especially those that prioritize algorithms over practicing patient-centered, evidence-based medical care.

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Healthcare is Both Art and Science

Humans are complex and unpredictable.

Their ability to describe their symptoms vary. Their pain thresholds vary.  Their underlying medical and mental health issues affect how they feel and what their treatment plan should entail.

Treating each patient requires both art and science; compassion and competence. They may present with a health condition like hives but have a behavioral health issue like anxiety that is triggering it. A chatbot is not going to be able to address that kind of nuance.

Our Approach to Virtual Primary Care

When patients, employers and health insurance plans look for the ideal virtual care option, we’ve found that they are usually looking for the following:

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  • Human-Centered, Whole Person Care

Virtual care solutions that employ chatbots and other technologies actually  introduce more distance between patients and providers. It’s the difference between calling somebody directly and having them answer, versus being intercepted by an automated phone tree that inevitably routes you to voicemail. 

CirrusMD employs technology to bring patients and providers closer together. Consultations with our virtual doctors are on demand. Patients wait less than 60 seconds on average to connect directly with a physician. 

To better address the variety of patients that we treat, and do so with empathy, our physicians receive ongoing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion training as part of clinical licensure.The composition of our physicians also closely resembles our patient population; 57% of our physicians are female and 30% are persons of color. 

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  • Multi-Specialty Care

Much like the primary care model prevalent with bricks and mortar medical services, we believe that the best place for patients to start is with a primary care or urgent care physician.

Our primary care doctors start by assessing a patient’s overall health and wellness, including their medical history. Urgent care, non-emergency conditions like sore throats, pink eye, sinus infections, and rashes can be handled directly. 

Issues with more complexity can be directed to specialists in mental health, chronic care, and women’s health — for matters such as urinary tract infections (UTI) and  birth control — or be connected to other in-network specialties such as pediatrics, orthopedics and physical therapy.

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  • Integrated and Longitudinal

We view our role as virtual doctors as complementing  a patient’s existing primary care physician, often augmenting in-person visits. Our provider network of doctors collaborate to care for a patient's entire medical journey, from preventative care to prescription refills and everything in between.

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  • Evidence Based

Our board-certified doctors receive ongoing training in how best to deliver the highest quality virtual care visits. That includes regular peer reviews by our provider network to ensure quality of care, as well as routine training that includes topics like delivering unbiased care. 

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CirrusMD FAQs

Who can access CirrusMD for virtual primary care?
CirrusMD is available to self-insured employers and health insurance plans, and their employees and members. This includes government-sponsored healthcare options like Medicare and via VA Health Chat.  

On what devices can CirrusMD be accessed?
Our virtual care options can be accessed via smartphones and tablets using our mobile app, or via personal  computers. 

What is the pricing for CirrusMD?
For specifics, visit our pricing model page. 

Does it require a copay or coinsurance to access CirrusMD?
CirrusMD is usually offered as a free health plan or employee benefit but may occasionally require that a patient subsidize some of the cost.

Does CirrusMD offer video chat and video visits?
All online doctor visits on our platform begin with text messaging, the go-to medium of choice for most Americans, especially deskless workers. Should a consultation require it, however, a session can seamlessly transition to video chat. With CirrusMD, you can often avoid the emergency room and discreetly access care from the comfort of your home, on the go, or even in noisy work environments that lack privacy.