Most of the pandemic's telehealth usage was for long-term care, study shows

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Seventy-seven percent of telehealth visits during the second half of 2020 were for long-term care, according to a study published July 9 in JAMA Health Forum.

Using the IQVIA National Disease and Therapeutic Index, researchers examined data on outpatient care from January 2018 through December 2020. Below are four key insights they discovered about telehealth usage during the pandemic:

  1. Telehealth appointments accounted for 23.9 percent of outpatient visits during the second half of 2020. During this period, 77 percent of telehealth visits were for long-term care, and 58 percent of in-person visits were for long-term care.

  2. During the second half of 2020, 25.6 percent of in-person outpatient visits and 2.7 percent of telehealth visits were for preventive care.

  3. Throughout the pandemic, about half of in-person outpatient visits and nearly two-thirds of telehealth visits were for established patients rather than new ones.

  4. Four of the top 10 diagnoses treated by telehealth visits in 2020 were for the following psychiatric or behavioral conditions: anxiety, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders, depression and bipolar disorders.
 

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