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Trends show how telemedicine has been used during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There is no question telehealth use has boomed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, investigators are probing data for patterns of usage that will yield insights into the boom and future use of the technology.
A team of Harvard investigators, including Ateev Mehrotra, a member of the Managed Healthcare Executive® editorial advisory board, found 30.1% of all visits were provided through telemedicine and the weekly number of visits increased twenty-three-fold compared with before the pandemic. The team examined the variation in total outpatient visits and telemedicine use across patient demographics, specialties, and conditions in a database of 16.7 million commercially insured and Medicare Advantage enrollees from January to June 2020.
Here’s more of what the team found:
“It is important to interpret these findings in the context of our study population, which disproportionately included employed adults and their family members with commercial insurance. Therefore, these results should be interpreted as conditional on having commercial insurance or a Medicare Advantage plan,” Mehrotra and the team wrote.
Future research may help understand the persistence of such trends over longer periods of time and the impact of the changes on patients’ overall health.
The study, “Outpatient Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic In The United States,” was published in the February issue of Health Affairs.