What You Need to Know:
– In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Teladoc Health reports that its daily virtual medical visit volume has spiked 50% over the prior week.
– Teladoc Health has provided approximately 100,000 virtual medical visits to patients in the United States in the past week.
Virtual care provider Teladoc Health announced that the company is experiencing unprecedented daily visit volume in the United States as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread globally. This week, patient visit volume spiked 50 percent over the prior week and continues to rise.
“We are seeing more patients and more of those patients are experiencing upper respiratory issues,” said Lew Levy, MD, chief medical officer, Teladoc Health. “As we saw during the flu epidemic of 2018, a community’s healthcare system can become overwhelmed and virtual care can help provide needed relief. We have the unique ability to immediately connect with the CDC and other government agencies, to add the right screening tools and clinical quality protocols to our system, and most importantly, to keep patients – particularly those most at risk with underlying health conditions – out of care settings where they can face exposure.”
Spike in Daily Virtual Medical Visits
The company had been handling visit demand consistent with peak flu volumes, but last week Wednesday began to see that number accelerate to as much as 15,000 visits requested per day. Teladoc Health has provided approximately 100,000 virtual medical visits to patients in the United States in the past week, helping to alleviate pressure on the broader health care system.
The $8.3 billion Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 has set aside $500 million to pay for Medicare telehealth services (voice and video), and allows the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to waive Medicare telehealth restrictions during the public health emergency to support the growing the demand for virtual care visits. These actions have driven many people to use telemedicine for the first time, with more than half of all the Teladoc Health visits this month being from first time users.
“The traditional health care system simply does not have the capacity to address a worst-case scenario when it comes to the coronavirus,” said Mark Smith, MD, professor of clinical medicine at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and member of the Teladoc Health board of directors. “The good news is that we have never been better able to address this challenge because of companies like Teladoc Health, that bring high-quality, affordable virtual care to every individual who needs care while reducing community exposure.”