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.
Why is telehealth falling off?
1ne: It’s easier to use email to request Rx renewals than to use telehealth.
2wo: Requesting a telehealth appointment can take days or, in some cases, weeks.
3hree: Patients want to talk to doctors in person.
4our: Costs of telehealth are increasing.
5ive: Virtual care websites were leaking sensitive medical information they collect to the world’s largest advertising platforms.
While telehealth use overall contracted, virtual visits for mental health conditions, the number one telehealth diagnosis, continued to rise nationally and in every region. Mental health claims rose from 57% of overall telehealth claim lines in March 2021 to 58.6% in April. Source: Fierce Pharma.
Is telehealth doomed? No, not by a long shot. Patients will use telehealth when it benefits them, like asking for flu medication when sick. However, with so much happening in healthcare and many people who avoided their doctors during the pandemic, patients want to talk with their HCPs. This may present a problem, however.
To remain profitable, many physicians must see as many patients as possible. If patients want to spend a lot of time discussing treatment options, it could eat into their profitability. However, many younger patients prefer telehealth over, what they see, as wasting time making appointments.