Use of telehealth jumped as pandemic shutdown began

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Use of telehealth jumped as pandemic shutdown began

Press releases may be edited for formatting or style | January 12, 2021 Health IT Telemedicine

When the pandemic began, nearly 40% of the Americans surveyed were being treated for a chronic physical health condition, while 15% were being treated for a behavioral health condition. Since the pandemic started, 16% had considered seeking care for a new or recurrent condition.

The study found that among patients who were receiving care when the pandemic began, 11% had used telehealth that included video conferencing from the middle of March to early May, a period of less than two months. In contrast, a survey conducted with the same panel in 2019 found that fewer than 4% had ever used video conferencing with a doctor.

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Among people who used telehealth services, researchers found that the use of video telehealth was less common for physical health care (14% of patients) than for behavioral health care (30% of patients).

Lack of insurance was associated with lower telehealth use for new conditions, while use of telehealth was more common in the Northeast than other parts of the nation.

"There is a wide expectation that telehealth will continue after the pandemic ends. Lessons from the use of telehealth during this period should inform policy for the post-COVID-19 era," Fischer said.

Other authors of the study are Lori Uscher-Pines, Elizabeth Roth and Joshua Breslau. Funding for this research was provided by gifts from RAND supporters and income from operations.

About RAND Health Care
RAND Health Care promotes healthier societies by improving health care systems in the United States and other countries.

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