Following the Numbers: A Data-Based Look at Virtual Care

Following the Numbers: A Data-Based Look at Virtual Care

Early Data Shows the Rapid Shift in How Patients are Receiving Care

By Dave Sellers, Beth Duke, and Lee Ann Lambdin

In a recent blog post on planning for the future of telehealth, we shared tips for how to shift to a more aggressive virtual care strategy. We discussed ways growth planners can embrace telehealth and be better prepared for the future. We also talked about the importance of data while growth planning and how All-Payer Claims Data (APCD) provides unique insights that can inform hospitals and health systems as they prepare to respond to the growth of telemedicine.

We won’t have complete data insights until July as to the full impact of COVID-19 and the resulting rapid adoption of virtual care. The data we do have shows the drastic impact of the virus and the resulting stay-at-home mandates. By tracking the “Telehealth” care setting, we see a momentous spike in virtual care in March of 2020. While the transition to virtual care began to take effect in 2018, it clearly jumped in March of 2020 due to virus concerns. Take a look at claims and encounter data below to see the spike in virtual visits.

Telehealth Claims:


TelehealthClaimsMonth_2020

TelehealthClaimsQuarter_2020

Telehealth Encounters:

TelehealthEncountersMonth_2020

TelehealthEncounters_March2020

The graph below is an added view that shows the volume trend just for March of 2020 to see how the spikes in volume lined up with CMS announcements regarding the loosening of Telehealth requirements. Note that the dips are weekend days. 

TelehealthEncounters_March2020-1

The Path to Rapid Adoption

Before COVID-19, many hospitals were on a one-to-three-year plan for full virtual care implementation. But for most, in Q1 of 2020, that plan was compressed to just three months. One of Stratasan’s clients went from zero virtual care to fully live in this short period of time. In record time, providers have accommodated a drastic shift in care setting. 

These virtual care offerings are clearly meeting a consumer expectation and the rapid adoption has shown that it is possible to make this kind of shift quickly, when necessary. In all likelihood, this shift in care delivery is here to stay, as the public will expect this to be an ongoing option once concerns over the virus have subsided. 

The Takeaway

Because of lags in claims processing, we don’t yet have a full picture of Q1 virtual care; but what we do have clearly shows the remarkable shift taking place. Check back in July for more in-depth insight and a look at the procedures that were handled via telehealth in Q1 of 2020.

For virtual care tracking specific to your market, contact us, and schedule a discovery call with one of our experts today. 

Article by Dave Sellers, Senior Data Analyst, Beth Duke Customer Success Manager, and Lee Ann Lambdin, SVP Strategic Advisory Services for Stratasan

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strategic planning hospital strategic planning all-payer claims data apcd telehealth telemedicine virtual care