The new study was published by HealthAffairs. The study is based on an analysis of claims data from Office Ally, a claims clearinghouse for Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial payers. The researchers compared mental health service utilization from time periods before and during the pandemic: 2016 to 2018 and March to December 2020.
New survey results indicate that “telehealth use will outlive the pandemic,” reported by Optum, UnitedHealth Group’s health services division, conducted fall 2021, which captured physician telehealth utilization including opportunities and frustrations.
In 2020, telehealth investments focused on speed, not strategy, as healthcare providers and payers rushed to meet the need for virtual care during the pandemic. Now, a recent Amwell/HIMSS survey shows there’s a need to move toward purposeful growth in telehealth.
The new research article, which was published by JAMA Network Open, examines the results of a quality improvement study of more than 130,000 scheduled video visits at an academic health system between March 1 and Dec. 31, 2020. Video visits were considered a success if the service was completed. Video visits were considered a failure if they were converted to a telephone visit.
As most health systems found out in the early days of the pandemic, scaling up virtual services was both critical and challenging. For UW Health, this process began with the need to rapidly boost the care team’s ability to work from home, providing virtual consultations and attending virtual rounds that would conserve PPE and reduce contact between team members and patients.
In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, American Telemedicine Association CEO Ann Mond Johnson said the PHE created “flexibilities that have allowed clinicians across the country to provide all Americans high-quality virtual care at a time of great need.”
One-fifth of 14,000 employees from 13 nations surveyed in a poll conducted by Mercer consultants used telehealth for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic and 72% of them say they intend to keep using it. The 2021 Mercer Health on Demand survey, released this week, also detected a big bump in employee interest in other digital health options, including apps to find providers and virtual reality tools for self-care.
On episode 36 of PSQH: The Podcast, Pete Reilly of Hub International talks about navigating the risks of telehealth.
The new national survey of 1776 people, conducted by telephone in June and July by the Bipartisan Policy Center and Social Sciences Research Solutions, also found that 80% of respondents had a primary care health issue resolved using telehealth.