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Judging from the numbers, telehealth is becoming increasingly popular across the country. National telehealth utilization rates among private insurers grew by 10.2% in May, signaling that telehealth utilization is a serious contender for mental health and serious pandemic interventions. According to the Fair Health statistics, May was the second running month in which telehealth utilization has increased substantially. Increases were seen in each of the four Fair Health census regions: Midwest, Northeast, South, and West.
Following Telehealth Utilization Rates Using the Fair Health Tracker
Fair Health is certified by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Its free-to-use Fair Health tracker launched in May 2020. The tracker measures changes in telehealth utilization rates by collecting private claims data on several metrics, including claim lines, diagnostic categories, and procedure codes. Fair Health has the most extensive collection of US claims data, with more than 36 billion claims records. The size of the databank increases to more than 2 billion claims records every year. The data comes from the claims of privately insured individuals who obtain reimbursement from plans such as Medicare Advantage. It may be important to note that Medicaid and Medicare Fee for Service claims are not included in the tracked information.
The Fair Health tracker reflects an increase in telehealth-related medical claim lines to 5.4% in May, up from the 4.9% recorded in April. CPT 90837 for one-hour psychotherapy maintained the top spot at national and regional levels. Aside from psychiatry dropping from fourth to fifth place in the Midwest, telehealth utilization of provider specialties remained unchanged. COVID-19 rose to the second highest diagnosis on the national tracker, up from the third place in the prior month. Rising in three of the four census states, COVID-19 maintained second place on the list of diagnoses in the Northeast.
Telehealth Utilization Rates Track COVID-19
Researchers have noted that the telehealth utilization rate is highly correlated with increases in the incidence of COVID-19. In-patient consultations add to the risk of contracting the virus leading to a preference for remote visits.
This trend can be seen in the November 2021, December 2021, and January 2022 statistics, as telehealth utilization rates increased by 7.3%, 11.4%, and 10.2% nationally.
Introduction to Telehealth Theory & Practice
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