- Telehealth visits rose in popularity for the third straight month in January, accounting for 5.9% of all medical claim lines, an increase from 5.5% in December, according to Fair Health’s monthly telehealth tracker.
- Utilization of virtual visits rose in all regions, and was up the most, at 9.5%, in the Midwest and West, rising 6.7% in the South and 3.2% in the Northeast.
- Fair Health, which recently began tracking audio-only telehealth utilization, found that audio-only utilization fell nationally from December to January, with the largest drop occurring in the South.
While telehealth utilization has fluctuated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual visits increased in popularity at the end of last year, according to Fair Health’s tracker. The nonprofit company analyzes data from privately insured medical claims, including Medicare Advantage visits and excluding Medicare Fee-for-Service and Medicaid
In its fourth year of claims analysis, Fair Health now includes data related to audio-only telehealth claims among urban versus rural populations. The nonprofit found that audio-only telehealth visits were generally more popular in rural than urban areas, except in the South, where audio-only visits were more popular in urban areas.
The report also now includes asynchronous telehealth diagnoses, defined as telehealth visits where data is stored and forwarded from patients electronically, for instance through blood pressure or other cardiac-related readings.
Mental health conditions remained the top telehealth diagnosis nationally, and have dominated the top spot since Fair Health began tracking claims.
Another recent Fair Health report found that telehealth use dropped 76% from 2020 to 2021 as patients began returning to medical settings after the first year of the pandemic.
Despite that drop, telehealth use still grew by over 7,000% percent in 2020 compared to 2019, that report found.