Telehealth’s Payoff

Mayo Clinic
Image Credit: Mayo Clinic

A new study from MITRE Corporation and Mayo Clinic of over 2 billion claims (plus thousands of patient and provider surveys) found that telehealth was effective at delivering care across a wide variety of specialties, but providers are still worried about its limitations in the post-COVID era.

Claims Results

  • Telehealth claims represented less than 2% of total claims before the pandemic, peaking at 49% in April 2020
  • Every clinical discipline saw usage rise, with the largest spike seen in behavioral health
  • Out of state providers were responsible for 6.5% of telehealth visit claims

Provider Survey

  • 79% of providers offered telehealth following the pandemic (16% prior)
  • Highest quality of care ratings were for chronic disease mgmt (89%) and mental health (83%)
  • Lowest quality of care ratings were for acute care (62%) and perioperative care (59%)
  • Biggest telehealth barriers were low reimbursement (~80%) and patient tech challenges (~70%)
  • Zoom (34%), audio-only (29%), and (28%) were the most cited technologies

Patient Survey

  • An impressive 74% of patients plan to use telehealth services in the future
  • 55% of patients reported that they would have delayed care without telehealth
  • Telehealth drove patient satisfaction by removing transportation barriers (76%), removing need to take time off work (65%), and reducing costs (67%)

The Takeaway

Telehealth studies aren’t exactly hard to come by, but this one is unique given its size and intent. Mayo Clinic’s goal behind the study was to encourage more telehealth research with the hope of influencing permanent regulatory change and reimbursement approaches. The study does a great job of showcasing telehealth’s positive impact on patients and providers, highlighting the need to better understand how the technology can be improved moving forward.

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