MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Sept. 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- HealthTap, a leading virtual healthcare provider, today announced a significant enhancement to its primary care offering; subscribers can now text with the primary care doctor they select at any time at no charge. A HealthTap subscription automatically includes a member's children, $39 video appointments, and a personal care doctor they choose to maintain continuity of care over time.
"The importance of continuity of care cannot be overestimated," said Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge, HealthTap co-founder and chief medical officer. "Effective primary care requires building a relationship with a trusted doctor over time, allowing the doctor and patient to partner to improve overall health, manage any ongoing health issues, and detect potential new health issues early."
Primary care may be the most significant contributor to life expectancy and overall improved health. Several major studies have recently revealed the need to add more primary care doctors to the American healthcare system. A 2019 JAMA Internal Medicine study found that every extra 10 primary care physicians per 100,000 population is associated with a 51.5 day increase in life expectancy, and an up to 1.4% decline in deaths from common causes like cancer and heart disease.
Primary care doctors offer a number of distinct benefits that help people live longer:
- Continuity of care—a physician who has the entire picture can more easily diagnose illnesses and coordinate any necessary specialists.
- Medication management—a comprehensive view of all a patient's medications can help avoid negative interactions or contraindications.
- Efficient care—when a patient has an established relationship with a primary care doctor, the doctor can more quickly diagnose potentially serious illness.
- Prevention—a primary care doctor has a fuller picture of a patient's health and is better able to identify potential health problems and counsel the patient on lifestyle changes to preserve health.
- Behavioral health—with 26% of Americans over 18 experiencing a diagnosable mental disorder, the ability of a primary care doctor to detect behavioral issues can play a critical role in getting timely help to these patients.
According to the Annals of Internal Medicine, increasing the number of primary care physicians in underserved areas in particular could prevent more than 7,000 deaths per year in those areas and boost life expectancy by an average of 56 days. By significantly increasing the efficiency of primary care visits, telemedicine may increase the supply of primary medical care, in the absence of the advent of new suppliers.
"Not only is primary care a key to improving public health, but it also represents a significant business opportunity for HealthTap," said Sean Mehra, HealthTap co-founder and chief executive officer. "With more than 82 million Americans lacking a primary care doctor, we have a very large population in need of our robust telemedicine service."
HealthTap is a virtual-first, affordable urgent- and primary-care clinic, providing top-quality physician care nationwide to Americans with or without insurance. Our proprietary, easy-to-use, and innovative apps and electronic medical record apply Silicon Valley standards to effectively engage consumers and doctors online to increase the equity, accessibility, and efficiency of ongoing medical care for consumers, providers, employers, and payers. In addition, with HealthTap, businesses can offer virtual primary care to employees for less than the cost of free coffee. HealthTap's US-based board-certified physicians are available throughout North America. For more information, visit www.healthtap.com.