Usage of telehealth services soared more than 8,300% in April 2020 vs. the same month in 2019, primarily driven by patients seeking treatment for mental health conditions, according to data released by FAIR Health, an independent not-for-profit that colleges data for and manages a database of privately billed health insurance claims and Medicare Parts A, B and D claims data.
Use of telehealth services already was on the rise prior to the COVID-19 pandemic—the volume of telehealth claim lines for February 2020 was 121% higher nationally than February 2019. But once social distancing and stay-at-home orders went into effect across much of the country, telehealth claim lines spiked 8,335% year-over-year for the month of April.
Among the organization’s other findings:
- Mental health conditions were the most common diagnoses for those using telehealth services, accounting for 34.1% of diagnoses in April 2020.
- While telehealth has long been presented as an especially useful resource in rural areas, telehealth visits actually accounted for a higher percentage of total claim lines in urban areas (13.5%) vs. rural areas (8.9%).
- The Northeast (Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Jersey) saw the biggest increase in telehealth usage in April, up 26,209% over April 2019. As with national data, mental health diagnoses were the most common among telehealth visits, accounting for 35.3%.
More data from FAIR Health’s Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker is available on the organization’s website.