After a Pandemic-Driven Boom, Telehealth Visits Level Off

According to recent data, telehealth visits are leveling off from their pandemic highs to below 20% of total medical appointments.

Overall telehealth use for doctor’s office visits and outpatient health care was 78 times higher in April 2020, compared with February 2020, consulting firm McKinsey reported in July. The analysis also found that telehealth use has since stabilized at levels 38 times higher than pre-pandemic, ranging from 13% to 17% of visits across all specialties.

A recent survey by KLAS Research and the Center for Connected Medicine (CCM) found that about 40% of hospital executives reported conducting up to 10% of appointments virtually, while a similar percentage reported that between 11% and 20% of their appointments are virtual. The 12% of survey respondents who said they are currently using telehealth for more than 30% of visits feel that this number is still inflated because of the COVID-19 pandemic and expect it to decline in the future.

FAIR Health, a nonprofit organization that provides information on health care coverage and insurance, reported that national telehealth utilization declined 10% in June.

In all regions of the U.S., most telehealth diagnoses have been mental health conditions, according to FAIR Health. The KLAS Research and CCM survey found that hospitals are using telehealth most frequently for primary care and behavioral health, while two areas likely to see telehealth expansion include chronic care management and urgent care.

Source: Fierce Healthcare, September 9, 2021.