Telehealth Utilization Declined In October 2021 After Two Months Growth

Inside Health Policy

January 11, 2022 4:31 pm

National telehealth utilization declined by 6.8% from September to October 2021 after two months of growth, according to FAIR Health’s Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker.

In August and September 2021, telehealth usage rose by 2% each month, based on data including populations that are privately insured, including Medicare Advantage, and excluding Medicare fee-for-service and Medicaid.

Despite the national decrease, the Northeast did not see a decline in telehealth utilization during October, which was unchanged at 4.8% of medical claim lines. The South experienced the greatest decline, with an 11.4% decrease in telehealth utilization.

Mental health conditions remained the top-ranking telehealth diagnosis nationally and regionally and increased in the percentage share of telehealth claim lines. Specifically, 60-minute psychotherapy sessions increased as a share of all telehealth claim lines nationally and regionally by about 1%.

Covid-19 was no longer a top five telehealth diagnosis in the Midwest in October 2021, which eliminated the virus from the top five telehealth diagnoses nationally or in any region during the month. Substance use disorders entered the top five diagnoses in the Midwest at number four.

In the same month, the South joint/soft tissue diseases and issues dropped out of the top five while examination now ranks as number three in telehealth diagnoses for the region.