Telehealth Growth Is Outpacing Other Care Services

Samara Rosenfeld
APRIL 01, 2019
telehealth
This photo has been modified. Courtesy of Geo Brava.


Private insurance claim lines for telehealth services as a percentage of all medical claim lines grew 53 percent nationally, while emergency rooms decreased in claim lines by 2 percent, according to the second annual edition of Fair Health’s Healthcare Indicators white paper.

Based on the findings, from 2016 to 2017, the national growth rate for telehealth (53 percent) was higher than any other service studied. Urgent care centers increased 14 percent, retail clinics increased 7 percent and ambulatory surgery centers increased 6 percent, while the use of emergency rooms decreased by 2 percent.

The white paper is intended to assist the full spectrum of healthcare stakeholders by providing clarity in a rapidly changing healthcare environment.

The FH Healthcare Indicators paper revealed trends and patterns in the places where patients receive healthcare, focusing on alternative places of service, including retail clinics, urgent care centers, telehealth and ambulatory surgery centers. The alternative services were compared to more traditional venues of care — offices and emergency rooms.

The paper evaluated changes in use, geographic and demographic factors, diagnoses, procedures and costs.

There was a 482 percent rural increase and 1,289 percent urban increase in telehealth claim lines from 2012 to 2017. From 2016 to 2017, rural growth was 29 percent and urban growth was 55 percent

Telehealth use has risen as more states and regions are implementing laws to facilitate the services. Between 2012 and 2017, national growth of claim lines for telehealth was greater than from 2011 to 2016.

Oklahoma, Wyoming, Ohio, Hawaii and West Virginia were the top five states in 2017 for telehealth claim lines as a percentage of all medical claim lines in that state. The bottom five states from least to most were New Jersey, Rhode Island, Nebraska, Connecticut and South Dakota — which was among the top five in 2016.

In 2017, telehealth services were used most among individuals aged 31-60, who accounted for 44 percent of the distribution of claim lines with telehealth usage. Claim lines with telehealth usage in 2017 were submitted more for females than males in every group except children aged 0-10, with an average differential of 56 percent female to 44 percent male.

Pediatric and young adult age groups made up larger shares of distribution of claim lines with telehealth usage in 2017 than in 2016, with children in the 0 to 10 age group making up 4 percent in 2016 and 10 percent in 2017.

Mental health reasons were the No. 1 diagnostic category for telehealth in 2016 and No. 5 in 2017 at 7 percent of telehealth diagnoses. Injury, which had not been among the top diagnostic categories in 2016, was the top diagnostic category associated with telehealth in 2017, making up 13 percent of diagnoses.

Get the best insights in healthcare analytics directly to your inbox.

Related
Telehealth Can Provide a Solution for Millennials with Depression
Virtual Waiting Room Offers Same-Day Care for Patients with a Behavioral Health Condition
Patients Are Satisfied with Tele-Rehab After Surgery

SHARE THIS SHARE THIS
77
Become a contributor