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FAIR Health's Latest Tracker Data Shows Nationwide Decrease in Telehealth Usage for December 2023


The latest data showed a 3.9% decrease in national use, dropping from 5.1% of medical claim lines in November to 4.9% in December.

Telehealth use saw a decline nationally and in every U.S. census region in December 2023, following a month of increases in November, according to FAIR Health's Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker.

The latest data showed a 3.9% decrease in national use, dropping from 5.1% of medical claim lines in November to 4.9% in December.

Regionally, the West saw the most significant decrease at 9.7%, while the Northeast, Midwest and South experienced declines of 3.3%, 2.9%, and 2.5%.

However, in the same month, use of audio-only telehealth services increased nationally and in every region, both in rural and urban areas.

In addition, in previous months, audio-only telehealth use was higher in rural areas than urban areas nationally and in every region except the South, where the trend was reversed.

Overall, this data only includes information from those who have private insurance and Medicare, according to a press release from FAIR Health.

FAIR Health President Robin Gelburd stressed the importance of the Monthly Telehealth Regional Tracker as a tool for researchers to explore the causal factors behind telehealth trends, though the organization “does not speculate as to the reasons behind these fluctuations.”

Despite the promise of telehealth in terms of accessibility, time saving and cost savings, its overall usage has declined over the years.

According to a CMS report, the percentage of Medicare users using telehealth services decreased from 47% in Q2 of 2020 to 13% in Q2 of 2023.

A study published in the April 2023 issue of Health Affairs, titled “Video Telemedicine Experiences in COVID-19 Were Positive, But Physicians and Patients Prefer In-Person Care for The Future,” surveyed 337 primary care doctors and 1,417 patients during the spring of 2021.

Results from this study displayed that most respondents were satisfied with video visits during the pandemic, however a majority expressed a preference for in-person care going forward.

Matt Sullivan, a solution thought leader at Wolters Kluwer Health specializing in virtual care and digital health solutions, suggested in a Wolters Kluwer report that the decline in telehealth usage could be due to one of many reasons such as access barriers in both rural and urban areas.

According to the report, rural and urban areas can also be known as healthcare deserts that can experience challenges such as lack of nearby quality care facilities, limited transportation access and affordability issues.

Sullivan emphasized the importance of broadband internet access in overcoming these barriers, as it can affect telehealth usage.

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