When you have an ongoing relationship with a doctor, even if it’s an exclusively online one, and when that doctor can order lab or imaging tests to confirm suspicions, 70% of issues can be solved without an in-person visit. However, 30% of issues need, at one point*, an in-person visit.
Of those referred cases, 55% are referred to a specialist, 30% to an urgent care center, 5% to a retail health clinic, 5% to a primary care physician, and ~5% to an ER.
*At one point because a situation may be handled online for weeks only to need a specialist visit to create a strategy/treatment plan that can then be managed exclusively online over time. Truly, the only time you ever need repeated in-person visits is when you need to track a physical exam finding over time.
It really is that simple.
A few comments on the referral stats:
Issues fall into a few categories:
Specialist visit. For weird, complicated, but not urgent issues.
Urgent care center. Pretty straightforward but needs confirmation urgently via tools you’d find in an urgent care center.
Retail clinic. Very straightforward, needs confirmation with a simple in-person test, and urgency would be nice but not necessary/worth the extra $250.
Primary care physician. Straightforward, but would benefit from routine physical exams.
Emergency room. Complicated, weird, potentially life threatening and needs emergency action.