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Study: Telehealth Use Soars 624%

posted by Alicia Caramenico

on July 30, 2019

Mental health among top reasons patients seek treatment via telehealth

Telehealth continues to grow rapidly in both availability and popularity. The use of telehealth grew 624% from 2014 to 2018, according to a new study from FAIR Health.

Provider and patient communication via telehealth (not in hospitals) saw the greatest increase: nearly 1,400%. Provider-to-patient-based telehealth was greater in urban than rural areas from 2014 to 2018.

FAIR Health looked at over 29 billion private health care claim records:

  • In 2018, (non-hospital-based) provider-to-patient telehealth accounted for 84% of all telehealth claims, up from 52% in 2014.
  • People age 31-40 are the highest users of telehealth, accounting for 21% of telehealth claims.
  • And 65% of all telehealth claims in the period 2014-2018 were associated with females.
  • The top 3 reasons people sought treatment from a provider via telehealth:
    • acute upper respiratory infections
    • mood (affective) disorders
    • anxiety and other nonpsychotic mental disorders

Health insurance providers know timely access to appropriate care is important, and many offer telehealth benefits. Consumer groups, providers, employers, and health insurance providers all see the expanded use of telehealth as a convenient way to improve access to care and reduce costs.

From addressing mental health issues, to reducing opioid misuse and abuse to supporting seniors and others with mobility or transportation issues, telehealth is increasingly a viable, affordable care delivery model.

For more information, check out 5 facts that show why consumers love telehealth.