Teladoc, a provider of virtual care delivery services, today announced that amid the most severe flu outbreak in a decade, the company has provided a record number of visits as telehealth emerges as a trusted clinical solution to provide relief for an overburdened health system. Having provided more than 300,000 total patient visits in the past five weeks alone, and as widespread flu stretches across 48 states, Teladoc continues to help patients from California to Texas, and Alabama to New York get the timely care they need.
As emergency departments have been forced to take extreme measures – from setting up medical tents outside to restricting younger visitors – to handle the influx of flu patients, telehealth offers the opportunity and benefit of keeping ill patients out of waiting rooms and clinics, so they do not infect other medically fragile patients. Flu is highly contagious and can be spread to people within six feet of a sick patient via cough, sneeze or speech
With the combination of the severe flu season, an overtaxed health system, and growing awareness of the value of telehealth, Teladoc has seen a significant spike in volume since the start of flu season.
At its peak in January, Teladoc reported that influenza cases represented nearly 1 in 5 visits, vs the 1 in 15 that was reported at physician practices by Modern Healthcare
Teladoc’s volume of flu cases has more than doubled since the 2016 -2017 flu season
The company often treats more than 1,000 patients daily who are suffering from flu related illnesses
As the health system struggles to keep pace with the pervasive flu activity, medical bodies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to state health departments are actively encouraging patients to stay home and seek care. For example, in an influenza update, the Tennessee Department of Public Health asked physicians to consider telemedicine visits for the flu to increase patient access, in response to the sharp increase in influenza and other respiratory illnesses in the state. Telemedicine is as effective if not more effective than in-person care for treating the flu.