What’s the difference between a virtual-first and virtual-only approach to fertility care? And why does it matter? We explain in this blog post.
Virtual healthcare is on the rise. In 2021, 64% of U.S. households reported using a telehealth service. While much of this usage was driven by COVID-19, it’s clear that virtual care is here to stay, with 43% of adults saying they want to continue to use telehealth services after the pandemic.
This is a promising trend in terms of expanding access to healthcare. However, a distinction needs to be made between virtual-first care versus virtual-only care—especially in the context of fertility care. In this post, we’ll explain what the difference is and why the former needs to be the go-to when it comes to fertility benefits.
What is virtual-first care?
Virtual-first care is an approach that puts an emphasis on virtual services but offers at-home and in-person options as well. This is different from virtual-only care, which only provides telemedicine or telehealth services.
Side note: Telemedicine is different from telehealth. The former refers specifically to clinical services that can only be provided by a doctor.
Here’s an example:
Imagine that your employee is struggling with fertility issues and decides to look into treatment options. With a virtual-first fertility benefits vendor, they could book an affordable telemedicine appointment to chat with a doctor about their treatment options. The initial consultation is billed through the employee’s major medical insurance, rather than being deducted from the employee’s fertility benefit dollars, a huge advantage. Following this visit, if needed, the Kindbody physician will either direct patients to a local in-network laboratory for additional blood work and radiologic testing to complete their fertility workup. At every step of the way, the same Kindbody physician that the employee engaged with during the initial visit will review results and answer questions. Once the workup is complete and if the employee is ready for treatment, the employee will be directed to a Kindbody Signature Clinic or one of Kindbody’s High-Value Partner Clinics.
The benefits of virtual-first care when it comes to fertility benefits
As you saw with the examples in the last section, virtual-first care can make a huge difference when it comes to the fertility care experience. Here are a few of the benefits of this approach, as well as an overview of how Kindbody approaches virtual-first care:
Provides more convenience
When an employee decides to begin their fertility journey, they may feel anxious to get started. Unfortunately, it frequently takes weeks—if not months—to book an appointment with a fertility clinic.
A virtual-first approach allows people to get up and running much faster. With Kindbody, an employee can book a virtual appointment directly with a board-certified physician within one week—or even on the same day—based on the employee’s preference.
Appointments are available seven days a week and can be scheduled online, providing maximal convenience for busy working professionals who want to get started on their family-building journeys today.
Allows for continuous care experience
Another benefit of a virtual-first approach is that it allows employees to receive continuous care. Rather than going to one provider for bloodwork and a completely different clinic for treatments, virtual-first fertility benefits vendors create a cohesive, end-to-end experience.
As we mentioned before, at Kindbody, your employee can book a virtual visit with a board-certified physician. After that initial visit, the physician will either direct patients to convenient at-home testing or a local in-network laboratory for blood work and radiologic testing to complete their full fertility workup.
The same Kindbody physician that the employee had a virtual visit with will be with them every step of the way to review results and answer questions, eliminating the fragmentation of care that’s long existed in healthcare. Once the workup is complete and if the employee is ready for treatment, the employee can go to one of the 28 Kindbody Signature Clinics or work with one of nearly 400 partner provider clinics in the U.S.
Leads to cost savings
Fertility treatments are known for being incredibly time-consuming and expensive—with procedures like in vitro fertilization taking many months and costing anywhere from $12,000 to $14,000 per cycle.
This is especially true for employers that partner with care navigation solutions, whose services tend to be marked up since they serve as the middlemen between the facilities and the employees.
Kindbody is different because we’re the only fertility solution that owns and operates our own clinics. By removing the middleman and serving as the direct provider of care, we’re uniquely positioned to provide affordable costs—without sacrificing health outcomes.
Because we take a virtual-first approach, we also have the ability to offer employees lower-cost, more accessible care options when they need it.
Consider taking a virtual-first approach to your fertility benefits
The rise of virtual services is an exciting prospect when it comes to the convenience, experience, and cost of healthcare—especially when adopted within a virtual-first model. Curious to learn about other key considerations when it comes to your fertility benefits offerings? Download our eBook for more information.