When the pandemic was in full swing, telehealth was being promoted everywhere, but now that the pandemic has declined, more patients are giving up on telehealth. Telehealth utilization fell nationally for the third straight month, according to FAIR Health’s Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker.
If you follow the hype around telehealth, you would think it will save healthcare. Telehealth does have a future as PART of healthcare, but it won’t replace the benefit of seeing a patient in person and being able to diagnose a health problem.
Business Insider formed a relationship with eMarketer for so-called “intelligence.” Their report on telehealth has numbers, but that’s not what’s important. We need to understand “why” people are using telehealth and for what purposes versus an in-office visit. In-office visits also have more benefits.
- Telemedicine claims as a proportion of all commercial health insurance claims decreased by 5.1% nationwide from February to March, after a steeper decline of 15.7% from January to February as vaccination efforts increased and COVID-19 increased. Cases declined as a result.
- Telehealth claims accounted for 7% of all medical claims positions in January, before falling to 5.9% in February and 5.6% in March, suggesting a steady slowdown in virtual care demand this year.
- The historically high usage of telemedicine over the past year has resulted in an unprecedented inflow of cash into the sector and an increase in mergers and acquisitions among virtual care players looking to gain market share.
- Doctors using telemedicine software are not sure of its value to patients and believe telehealth may pose risks.
SUMMARY: Once again, the “hype” may be bigger than the reality around telehealth. First, people aren’t always completely honest with their doctors. A recent study published in the journal JAMA Network Open found that 60 to 80 percent of patients have been less than fully forthright with their doctors at some point which can be worse with telehealth. According to a survey, close to 60% of physicians have lingering reservations about the quality of care they can provide remotely.
SUMMARY: Deloitte predicts that the percentage of virtual video visits to doctors will rise to 5% globally in 2021, up from an estimated 1% in 2019. While 5% may not sound like much, consider that 8.5 billion doctor’s visits, worth a total of approximately US$500 billion.
SUMMARY: According to Harvard Business Review, “digital health solutions and technology will play a crucial role in the difficult work of optimizing processes and systems for greater efficiency, financial viability, and enhanced outcomes. While this is true digital health won’t go anywhere unless there is a renewed effort on the user experience.