FAIR Health’s new data, which represents the privately insured population in the US, reveals that telehealth usage remains high in the US compared to 2019, even with many states relaxing restrictions on elective surgeries and non-emergency medical care.
Despite being a slighter increase than the year-to-year increase the previous month, June 2020 recorded high numbers of telehealth claim lines usage, increasing 4,132 per cent nationally from June 2019 to June 2020, and rising from 0.16 per cent of medical claim lines in June 2019 to 6.85 per cent in June 2020.
Mental health conditions make up majority of telehealth claims
Across every census region of the US (Midwest, Northeast, South, and West), mental health claims made up the majority of telehealth claims in June 2020, at 44 per cent. Nationally, the number of mental health telehealth claims rose by four per cent between May and June.
FAIR Health also detailed that increases in the Northeast and Midwest were particularly notable, with claims in the Northeast increasing from 41 per cent in May to 48 per cent in June; and in the Midwest from 49 per cent in May to 54 per cent in June.
Anxiety and depression are key players driving the move away from physical hospital visits
Reports of mental health conditions rising are in abundance – not only in the US. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, new intel details that people are avoiding going to a hospital during the pandemic (the number of visits to ambulatory practices in the US declined nearly 60 per cent by early April according to the Commonwealth Fund’s data), and that this medical care avoidance is associated with anxiety and depression (as detailed by the University of Toronto’s new research). Thankfully, however, telehealth is able to fill the much-needed gap – and clearly, if FAIR Health’s data is anything to go by, it’s working hard to do so.
The surge in the use of telehealth services appears to show little sign of diminishing. Perhaps the evolution of digital healthcare is happening faster than was initially predicted? As FAIR Health put it: “It is clear that the Covid-19 pandemic is having a substantial impact on telehealth.”