Just a few weeks back in our previous article titled, Telehealth Use Up 10.2% Nationally in May, we discussed a sizable increase in the use of telehealth services seen nationwide.
In fact FAIR Health, an independent nonprofit that collects data for and manages the nation’s largest database of privately billed health insurance claims and is entrusted with Medicare Parts A, B and D claims data for 2013 to the present, tracks and releases monthly telehealth updates via their Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker. And recent data via FAIR points to a sizable dropoff in telehealth use.
This data shows that, after two months of growth, national telehealth utilization fell 3.7 percent, from 5.4 percent of medical claim lines in May to 5.2 percent in June. So what exactly happened to cause this notable drop in telehealth usage? And, most importantly, does this indicate a loss of use/interest in telehealth services? Let’s dig in to understand the nuances in this data.
What does this mean for Telehealth?
One of the most notable pieces of data that can be teased out of this report provided by FAIR is that COVID-19 has a big influence on the trajectory of this data. It’s important to note that today, COVID-19 is one of the leading diagnoses in the United States. While COVID-19 is still a national challenge, with cases dropping, telehealth use will then recede in parallel, following the trajectory in some parts of the United State COVI-19 case numbers.
To this, several US regions reported declines in COVID-19-related telehealth statistics. In the Northeast, telehealth use fell 4.8 percent, and in the South, it fell 2.4 percent. However, the West reported a 2.9 percent increase, and the Midwest had no changes.
How does this impact Telehealth Development?
Although this data seems to suggest that telehealth services are waning, we think this is quite the opposite. As we begin to round the corner on COVID-19, telehealth services related to COVID-19 will undoubtedly reduce as well.
In fact, we believe the fact that COVID-19-related telehealth services will continue to drop while other peripheral telehealth services will continue to climb. This projection begs the question, is now the time to jump into the telehealth app space and capture some market share of the booming market? We believe the data in this piece, and other subsequent pieces we’ve released show that telehealth is in the early stages of a massive multi-billion dollar industry.
About the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker
Launched in May 2020 as a free service, the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker uses FAIR Health data to track how telehealth is evolving from month to month. An interactive map of the four US census regions allows the user to view an infographic on telehealth in a specific month in the nation as a whole or in individual regions. Each infographic shows month-to-month changes in telehealth’s percentage of medical claim lines, as well as that month’s top five telehealth procedure codes, diagnoses and specialties. Additionally, in the Telehealth Cost Corner, a specific telehealth procedure code is featured, with its median charge amount and median allowed amount.
FAIR Health President Robin Gelburd stated: “We welcome sharing these varying windows into telehealth utilization as it continues to evolve. This is one of the many ways we pursue our healthcare transparency mission.”
For the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker, click here.
About Dogtown Media
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