Five Facts About Telehealth

Deanna Larson, Founding Board Member, American Board of Telehealth; CEO of Avera eCARE

Health professionals have seen an explosion in telehealth, the use of technology to allow providers and patients to have appointments from afar.

It only makes sense, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, that skyrocketing use and growing appreciation for the platform continue to shape how the future of health care will evolve.

Here are five somewhat amazing facts about the use of telehealth worldwide in 2020.

  1. Among consumers, telehealth use climbed from 11% in 2019 to 46% of consumers using telehealth to replace cancelled health care visits as of May 2020. That’s according to a study by McKinsey & Company.
  2. Providers report 50 to 175 times the number of telehealth visits, according to McKinsey & Company.
  3. Between February and April 2020, Medicare primary care visits conducted via telehealth went from one-tenth of 1% to 43.5%, according to Department of Health and Human Services reports.
  4. In its 2019 Physician Fee Schedule, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) adopted additional billing codes to reimburse providers who offer remote patient monitoring, which could serve to open the door to increased telemedicine adoption.
  5. It’s estimated that approximately $250 billion – or 20% – of all Medicare, Medicaid and commercial payor outpatient, clinic and home health spend could potentially be shifted to virtual care, according to the McKinsey & Company study.

“Beyond the concrete costs associated with clinical visits and appointments, studies sometimes fail to recognize the social and emotional costs that telehealth can help people avoid because they can remain closer to home and their support systems,” said Avera eCARE® CEO Deanna Larson. “But the hard numbers speak for themselves and show just how effective telehealth solutions can be for health systems and providers who want the best outcomes for patients. It increases patient engagement, gives providers better work-life balance and – as dozens of studies show – it saves money.”

Providers who appreciate the rising use and necessities of telehealth can earn academic certification in the genre via the American Board of Telehealth (ABT), a new national entity created to improve and ensure the quality of telehealth.

ABT’s first certificate program is currently available, offering high-quality, evidence-based education in the practice of telehealth.