Value-based care report

Telehealth continues to enhance patient experience

Positive effects of telehealth continue to increase, even as telehealth visits decrease

Even as the pandemic loosens its grip and in-person visits return to normal, telehealth remains a piece of physicians’ everyday approach to care delivery, evolving into part of a more targeted clinical strategy.

Primary care telehealth usage among Humana members associated with value-based providers remained higher in 2021 compared to those associated with non-value providers.

Close to 10% of all Humana MA members affiliated with value-based physicians had a telehealth visit last year, compared to 7.8% of those affiliated with a non-value-based physician. Of all telehealth visits among Humana MA members in 2021 (1.37 million), roughly 66% were visits by Humana MA members affiliated with value-based physicians.1

Those figures virtually mirror the broader national trend. A study by the American Medical Association (AMA) showed that while telemedicine usage has waned over the past year, 64% of physicians continue to offer a hybrid of in-person and telehealth visits1.

Close to 10% of all Humana MA members affiliated with value-based physicians had a telehealth visit last year, compared to 7.8% of those affiliated with a non-value-based physician. Of all telehealth visits among Humana MA members in 2021 (1.37 million), roughly 66% were visits by Humana MA members affiliated with value-based physicians.1

Those figures virtually mirror the broader national trend. A study by the American Medical Association (AMA) showed that while telemedicine usage has waned over the past year, 64% of physicians continue to offer a hybrid of in-person and telehealth visits1.

With telehealth activity down, positive effects from its pandemic-driven expansion over the past 2 years are still seen by physicians. In the face of community shutdowns, telehealth capabilities allowed patients to be assessed and diagnosed quicker, leading to earlier interventions and treatment, according to physicians.

Take Meadowcrest Family Physicians in Florida, for example.

A patient with intermittent chest pains may have their initial visit in-person and be sent for a cardiac work-up but, review all their testing via telehealth… and any further recommendation can proceed from there. Overall, we decreased time to discuss, and in our opinion, time to diagnosis
Dr. Ryan Dickert, Meadowcrest’s co-CEO.

While patients and providers alike prefer in-person visits, for the purposes of assessment and diagnosis, providers have seen an increase in telemedicine visits for more routine and ongoing care such as medication, chronic disease management and preventive care.

Dedicated Senior Medical Center in South Philadelphia found that many of its senior patients trying to access care via telehealth experienced technical barriers that they were unable to troubleshoot themselves without the help of family members who were unavailable during the week. So they started offering “Weekend Clinics” to help ensure patients had a family member present to address connectivity issues and connect them with their doctor.

Through the weekend appointments, providers identified patients who needed more in-depth, in-person care and even arranged transportation for those unable to make it to the clinic themselves.

“If a member has a concern, we need to limit or even eliminate the obstacles patients must tackle to get to their care team such as phone trees, call centers, non-specific nursing or reception pools,” says Dr. Alex Dickert, Meadowcrest co-CEO. “Telehealth is a natural extension of this concept.”

Sources

  1. Internal Humana data.
  2. American Medical Association Telehealth, “2021 Telehealth Survey Report,” accessed November 2,2022 https://www.ama-assn.org/system/files/telehealth-survey-report.pdf, PDF.

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