An updated AARP study finds that usage and interest in telehealth is as strong in 2022 as in 2020, showing:
- a higher percentage of use and interest in women;
- a markedly higher percentage of Black patients open to using telehealth services in contrast to White and non-Hispanic patients;
- and a sustained uptake in older patients between 50 and 64.
In populations over 65, Black patients and patients with government-sponsored insurance were those most likely to embrace this form of care innovation, usually preferring and utilizing more audio-only visits as compared to counterpart populations – with White populations most likely to access video services.
Access, distinctly linked to modality and highly variable across the country, remains an issue. On the road to health equity, “patient preferences, the content of services and frequency of visits, technology access, and quality of care” need to be taken into account.
As a tool for managing population health, telehealth has tremendous potential for transforming the healthcare industry and improving quality outcomes. Specifically, in behavioral health, telecommunication technologies can serve to address the national shortage of qualified providers and help achieve integrated care goals. The growing body of evidence supports the use of telehealth in the provision of behavioral health services, especially psychotherapy.
There are many challenges, however, to adopting and integrating telehealth into a service delivery continuum. Assessing an organization’s readiness for telehealth services and determining the right use case are essential to successful program implementation and sustainability.
At SAE, we understand the benefits and challenges associated with selecting and adopting telehealth modalities. We are dedicated to partnering with behavioral health providers to help navigate the complex policy and regulatory landscape while planning and implementing sustainable telehealth program services.
RESOURCES & RESEARCH
- 🌐 Telehealth Remains Popular Among Adults Over 50 (May 2022): https://mhealthintelligence.com/news/telehealth-remains-popular-among-adults-over-50;
- 🌐 HHS: Video Visit Use Less Likely Among Non-White, Older Americans: https://mhealthintelligence.com/news/video-visit-use-less-likely-among-non-white-older-americans;
- 🌐 An Updated Look at Telehealth Use among U.S. Adults 50-Plus, Results from a February 2022 Survey (AARP): https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/research/surveys_statistics/health/2022/telehealth-use-update.doi.10.26419-2Fres.00525.001.pdf;
- 🌐 Better Medicare Alliance Medicare Advantage Survey (May 2020) showing lower access to telehealth in senior populations, with higher marks once experienced: https://mhealthintelligence.com/news/surveys-suggest-seniors-arent-using-telehealth-during-covid-19-crisis;
- 🌐 National Survey Trends in Telehealth Use in 2021: Disparities in Utilization and Audio vs. Video Services (Federal Report, Feb 2022) examines how use of video-enabled vs. audio-only telehealth services differ across patient populations, showing notable disparities by race, ethnicity, income, age, and insurance status in access to video-enabled telehealth: https://aspe.hhs.gov/reports/hps-analysis-telehealth-use-2021;
- 🌐 The Audio-Only Telehealth Act (introduced before Congress December 2020 and referred to the Subcommittee on Health in May of 2021) intends to expand Medicare coverage for audio-only phone visits, removing geographic restrictions on originating locations of beneficiaries, and expanding coverage to include audio-only services for evaluation and management and behavioral health services. Beneficiaries are required to have had in-person or video services during the preceding three-year period: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3447.