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Local telemedicine providers help fill gaps in care

Photo by FirstHealth

PINEHURST — FirstHealth On the Go allows you access to 24/7 virtual convenient care without leaving the house. On the Go connects you with local health care providers to address routine, non-emergency health issues like sinus problems, respiratory infections, allergies, flu symptoms, rashes and more.

Benefits of using virtual convenient care include:

  • Avoiding long wait times you may encounter at a standard urgent care clinic
  • Quick and accessible care for common health issues
  • The ability to talk to a provider from anywhere – whether you’re on vacation or at home with a sick child in the middle of the night
  • Potentially lower medical costs

Julie Coggins, FNP-C, and Anna Kate Pruett, PA-C, are local, full-time providers with FirstHealth On the Go who diagnose symptoms and recommend treatment, which may include a prescription.

Both Coggins and Pruett have experience working in traditional convenient care and family medicine settings.

Coggins earned her Master of Science in Nursing from Winston-Salem State University and worked at FirstHealth Family Medicine – Biscoe for more than three years before she transferred to convenient care. She joined On the Go earlier this year. She said the Covid-19 pandemic inspired her transition to virtual care.

“I was in rural primary care when the Covid pandemic began,” Coggins said. “I saw how much telemedicine helped patients receive health care in a quick, safe and timely manner no matter where they were. This made me appreciate the value of telemedicine.”

Pruett earned her Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies from the Wake Forest University Physician Assistant Program. She has worked with FirstHealth Convenient Care since 2019 and transferred to On the Go in April.

Pruett said the flexibility of telehealth jobs is beneficial as a military spouse and she has enjoyed witnessing the service’s rise in popularity.

“I am so excited about the future of FirstHealth On the Go,” she said. “I believe FirstHealth, as a company, desires to seek the best for its patients. I’ve seen this practiced since I started working for FirstHealth in 2019 and so grateful I get to be a part of this team.”

When to Use FirstHealth On the Go

Telemedicine can treat some common symptoms and infections, including:

  • Cold or flu symptoms
  • Allergies
  • Rashes
  • Pink eye
  • UTIs

Certain conditions, such as cuts and minor sprains or fractures, may require an in-person visit at a FirstHealth Convenient Care location. FirstHealth On the Go does not offer X-rays, labs or health screenings like physical examinations. Depending on your health insurance plan, a virtual visit will cost between $0 to $45.


Tips for Virtual Visits

While talking to a doctor over a phone or video call is new territory for many, a few simple steps can make the process easier.

“Make sure you have your phone off silent, so it is not blocking calls,” Pruett said. “And remember that you may have to wait during busy hours, but at least the waiting is in the comfort of the environment of your choice, and virtual waits are typically shorter than at in-person clinics.”

Coggins said patients should be sure to complete all information asked for in the profile. “This will insure we provide safe, effective health care. Being ready and prepared after initiating a visit will also prevent delays.”

How to Sign Up for FirstHealth On the Go

To register, download the FirstHealth On the Go app on your phone or tablet, or visit www.FirstHealthOntheGo.org and select “Register Your Account” to follow the online registration instructions. If you don’t have web access, call (855) 619-2643.

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