- COVID-19 bounced back into the top five codes used in teleheallth claims lines nationally in November after being absent from the list for two months, according to data from nonprofit Fair Health. It ranked fifth as a percentage of claims as the highly transmissible omicron variant was first detected in the U.S.
- National telehealth use overall increased 7.3% in November — rising from 4.1% of all medical claims in October to 4.4% in November — with the biggest jump seen in the Northeast, according to Fair Health.
- Substance use disorders fell out of the top five diagnoses nationally in November and were replaced with COVID-19 diagnoses.
Telehealth use has fallen from record highs at the start of the pandemic, and legislators are still debating what regulations should be relaxed permanently.
Uptake continues to fluctuate in certain regions based on COVID-19 surges, and in November telehealth use rose in every census region, as patients again avoided medical settings and some became infected with the newest coronavirus variant.
The last time COVID-19 ranked in the top five telehealth diagnoses in the Midwest was in September, and in the Northeast it had not been listed since January 2021.
Fair Health has maintained its telehealth use tracker throughout the pandemic, using data from over 34 billion private claims records. In July, telehealth use hit the lowest level since the pandemic started at 4.1% of all medical claims, though it still remained well above pre-pandemic levels.
In the Northeast and Midwest, joint and soft tissue diseases dropped out of the top five diagnoses in November, and encounters for examination dropped from third to fifth place in the South's top telehealth diagnoses that month.
The top five telehealth diagnoses in the West did not change.
Mental health conditions remained the top-ranking telehealth diagnosis nationally and in every region as the pandemic worsens conditions like anxiety and depression, and as virtual mental health care services become increasingly popular as a potentially more convenient way to receive therapy and other treatments.