- COVID-19 made its way back into the top five telehealth diagnoses nationally on Fair Health’s monthly tracker in April for the first time since January, according to the report out Wednesday.
- Every U.S. census region except the South saw COVID-19 return to the top five diagnoses list, and the uptick is in line with rising cases reported in April by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Telehealth use overall also rose nationally and in every region after two months of decline, the report found.
Throughout the pandemic, patients have turned to telehealth and virtual care services to meet remotely with doctors who can diagnose and treat certain conditions. Diagnoses for COVID-19 took a brief hiatus early this year but rose again in April as new variants continued circulating, according to Fair Health.
Telehealth use also rose across the board in April, accounting for 4.9% of all medical claims compared to 4.6% in March, according to the tracker. Fair Health’s tracker uses claims data from the privately insured population, including Medicare Advantage but excluding fee-for-service Medicare and Medicaid.
The South saw the largest uptick in virtual medical visits overall, with telehealth use rising 11.8% from March to April.
With COVID-19 back on the list, other diagnoses have fallen off with variations across regions.
Joint and soft tissue diseases fell out of the top five diagnoses in the Midwest and Northeast in April, while endocrine and metabolic disorders dropped off in the West.
Nationally, substance use disorder diagnoses dropped out of the top slots, though mental health conditions remained in the No. 1 spot. One-hour psychotherapy visits also remained as the top procedure code.
Among those administering telehealth visits, social workers remained as the most popular specialty nationally. In April, percentage share of telehealth claims from primary care physicians rose about 1% nationally and in the Northeast and South.