A claims-based analysis suggests that approximately 20 percent of all emergency room visits could potentially be avoided via virtual urgent care offerings, 24 percent of healthcare office visits and outpatient volume could be delivered virtually, and an additional 9 percent “near-virtually.” Furthermore, up to 35 percent of regular home health attendant services could be virtualized, and 2 percent of all outpatient volume could be shifted to the home setting, with tech-enabled medication administration. Overall, these changes add up to $250 billion in healthcare spend in 2020 that could be shifted to virtual or near-virtual care, or 20 percent of all office, outpatient, and home health spend across Medicare, Medicaid, and commercially insured populations. Consumer adoption has skyrocketed, from 11% of US consumers using telehealth in 2019 to 46% now using telehealth to replace canceled healthcare visits — 76% of respondents indicated they were interested in using telehealth going forward — 74% reported high satisfaction. In addition, providers have rapidly scaled offerings and are seeing 50 to 175 times more telehealth visits – with 57% viewing telehealth more favorably now than they did pre-COVID-19.
The number of Medicare beneficiaries using telehealth skyrocketed in the early weeks of the pandemic. Almost 1.3 million members received telehealth services in the week ending April 18, compared to just 11,000 in the week ending March 7, according to current Medicare claims data — an increase of more than 11,718% in just a month and a half.