Epic Research: Telehealth Visits Unlikely to Require In-Person Follow-Up Within 90 Days
On December 13, Epic Research released a study on revisit rates from telehealth visits. The study found that telehealth visits were unlikely to require in-person follow-up visits within 90 days.
- In nearly every specialty studied, most patients who had a telehealth visit did not require an in-person follow-up appointment in that specialty in the next three months.
- For specialties that required follow-up, the additional visits were likely related to needing additional care, not duplicative care (for example, obstetrics, geriatrics).
- Mental health and psychiatry had the largest volumes of telehealth utilization and some of the lowest rates of needing in-person follow-up. Only 15% of the time did a patient who had a psychiatry or mental health telehealth visit need an in-person follow-up visit in the next three months.
- In specialties that could be consultations (for example, genetics, nutrition), telehealth visits might even replace the need for in-person visits. Genetics telehealth visits required in-person follow-up 4% of the time. Nutrition telehealth visits required in-person follow-up only 10% of the time.
These findings suggest that, for many specialties, telehealth visits are typically an efficient use of resources and are unlikely to require in-person follow-up care. If telehealth is not duplicative of in-person visits for those specialties, it can be an effective tool to help expand access to care. These findings support the findings of the Alliance for Connected Care’s commissioned Medicare analysis.
This study was mentioned by Dr. Jackie Gerhart at the Alliance for Connected Care and the Healthcare Leadership Council virtual discussion.