- Patients ditched virtual waiting rooms in March for the second consecutive month as they opted for in-person care, according to a report released Thursday from Fair Health.
- Telehealth use dropped 6% in March, representing a 4.6% decline in all medical claims from February.
- The data provides a snapshot of early 2022 when COVID-19 infections dropped and patients seemed more willing to return to the doctor's office.
Telehealth use declined in March across all medical claim lines compared to February, according to non-profit Fair Health's monthly telehealth regional tracker.
The data shows a stark contrast to the healthcare landscape in May where the seven-day moving average of COVID-19 cases reached 103,686 at the end of the month and hospitals continued to suffer from a drop in patient visits. On March 31, the moving average of coronavirus cases was 25,554, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
Although virtual care declined across every U.S. region compared to February 2022, the South represented the greatest decrease, falling 8.1% from the previous month followed by the West which declined by 7.8%.
Teletherapy continued to remain robust, snagging the top procedure spot for telehealth visits in March and representing 26% of virtual claim lines, the report noted. Mental health conditions claimed 65% of diagnoses across all regions. Likewise, social workers remained the most popular specialty in telehealth claims for the second month in a row.
Established patient and outpatients visits represented 14.8% for 30 to 39 minute sessions and 13.6% of all telehealth claim lines for 20 to 29 minutes, according to the report.
Slight regional variances occurred in March. In the Northeast, acute respiratory diseases and infections were the second most common diagnoses, rising from fifth place in February. In the South, examinations for urinary tract infections jumped in popularity, rejoining the list from December 2021.
The data represents more than 70 national contributors across privately billed medical and dental claim records, according to Fair Health, and includes patients on Medicare Advantage, excluding Medicaid and Medicare Fee-for-Service.