Virtual care visits up 7.3% this flu season: 3 things to know

Patients turned to virtual healthcare this flu season more than they did last year, according to data provided to Becker's Hospital Review from HealthTap, an online platform that connects people looking for health information to a network of physicians who can answer their health questions.

This flu season has been one of the worst in the past decade, claiming nearly 97 lives and showing only a small chance of stopping anytime soon, according to the CDC's Feb. 23 FluView update.

To see how virtual healthcare has been affected by the 2017-18 flu season, HealthTap analyzed its data and drew comparisons to the 2016-17 flu season.

Here are three things to know.

1. The ratio of virtual consults for flu-like symptoms among HealthTap users (15 percent) was double that of in-person physician visits among the general population (7.7 percent).

2. HealthTap noted a 30 percent increase in the ratio of virtual consults among its users for flu-like symptoms this year (14.8 percent) compared to last year (11.4 percent).

3. The ratio of flu-related virtual consults resulting in an antiviral prescription for flu treatment increased from 0.3 percent in 2016-17 to 1.8 percent in 2017-18.

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