Top 20 telehealth diagnoses in 2020 and 2021
After COVID-19 triggered seismic shifts in the ways Americans think about how they receive the preventative care they need, physicians have rolled out robust telehealth services to match this soaring demand. By offering access to expert care safely and conveniently, patients are using telemedicine more than ever to pursue better health outcomes.
With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to reshape how care is provided and telemedicine adoption building momentum, patients have spent 2020 and 2021 with their physicians for all manner of health conditions. From COVID-19 testing to seeking help for mental, physical and other conditions, patients are taking full advantage of virtual care services.
According to insights from Definitive Healthcare’s medical claims database, more patients are using telehealth services for conditions related to anxiety, depression, and mental health than physical health conditions.
Looking back at telehealth diagnoses made throughout 2021, many of the most diagnosed conditions mirror their 2020 counterparts. Interestingly, the total number of telehealth diagnoses made in 2021 is about 20 million, about 6 million less than 2020.
This could indicate some interesting trends:
The data could corroborate the belief that more physicians are seeing the benefits of technology in their practice.
The data could support larger studies that the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting our mental and neurological wellbeing.
Below, we take a look at how the top 20 most reported telehealth diagnoses have changed from 2020 to 2021.
|Rank||ICD-10 Code||ICD-10 Description||Total Procedures||Explore dataset|
|1||F411||Generalized anxiety disorder||4,370,744||Explore|
|2||I10||Essential (primary) hypertension||4,236,428||Explore|
|3||F419||Anxiety disorder, unspecified||2,287,459||Explore|
|4||F331||Major depressive disorder, recurrent, moderate||2,138,925||Explore|
|6||F4310||Post-traumatic stress disorder, unspecified||1,466,202||Explore|
|7||F902||Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, combined type||1,465,407||Explore|
|8||F329||Major depressive disorder, single episode, unspecified||1,240,880||Explore|
|9||K219||Gastro-esophageal reflux disease without esophagitis||1,093,442||Explore|
|11||E559||Vitamin D deficiency, unspecified||878,467||Explore|
|12||E119||Type 2 diabetes mellitus without complications||720,193||Explore|
|13||M545||Low back pain||671,375||Explore|
|14||Z20828||Contact with and (suspected) exposure to other viral communicable diseases||658,240||Explore|
|15||F4323||Adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood||550,090||Explore|
|16||F900||Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, predominantly inattentive type||456,381||Explore|
|19||U071||2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease||246,835||Explore|
|20||F332||Major depressive disorder, recurrent severe without psychotic features||163,799||Explore|
|Rank||ICD-10 code||ICD-10 description||Total procedures||Explore dataset|
|1.||F411||Generalized anxiety disorder||4,682,382||Explore|
|2.||F331||Major depressive disorder, recurrent, moderate||2,228,280||Explore|
|3.||I10||Essential (primary) hypertension||2,164,075||Explore|
|4.||F419||Anxiety disorder, unspecified||1,982,860||Explore|
|5.||F4310||Post-traumatic stress disorder, unspecified||1,456,136||Explore|
|6.||F902||Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, combined type||1,323,882||Explore|
|7.||F329||Major depressive disorder, single episode, unspecified||1,056,455||Explore|
|8.||F4323||Adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood||896,241||Explore|
|10.||F900||Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, predominantly inattentive type||841,350||Explore|
|11.||F332||Major depressive disorder, recurrent severe without psychotic features||619,662||Explore|
|12.||E559||Vitamin D deficiency, unspecified||517,607||Explore|
|13.||U071||2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease||408,686||Explore|
|14.||K219||Gastro-esophageal reflux disease without esophagitis||404,206||Explore|
|15.||F410||Panic disorder [episodic paroxysmal anxiety]||368,967||Explore|
|16.||Z20822||Contact with and (suspected) exposure to COVID-19||357,985||Explore|
|18.||F330||Major depressive disorder, recurrent, mild||232,128||Explore|
|19.||E119||Type 2 diabetes mellitus without complications||156,557||Explore|
|20.||J069||Acute upper respiratory infection, unspecified||136,982||Explore|
Top telemedicine diagnoses emphasize the importance of mental health
According to the data, we can see that conditions related to mental, behavioral, and neurodevelopmental health were a priority to patients in 2020. Generalized anxiety disorder (F411), major depressive disorder, recurrent, moderate (F331), and post-traumatic stress disorder, unspecified (F4310), held several of the most reported diagnoses with a total of 7,975,871 procedures.
Several other ICD-10 codes within the “F” category further indicate the importance of diagnosing and treating a variety of mental health conditions. Telehealth services may be particularly well-suited for counseling patients with mental health conditions because they offer a safe, effective, private, and engaging environment for patients and physicians. Rural areas in the U.S., which have a profound history of lacking access to health care, may benefit the most from increased telehealth adoption.
We can see similar trends in the top telehealth diagnoses for 2021. Generalized anxiety disorder (F411) remained in the top position, while major depressive disorder, recurrent, moderate (F331) moved up to take the second ranking. Other conditions related to anxiety, depression, stress and mental health have also seen considerable growth.
We can also compare diagnoses for endocrine, nutritional, and metabolic diseases (“E” category). Cases of hyperlipidemia (E785) have decreased by a total of 680,446 procedures, marking a fall from fifth position in 2020 to the ninth position in 2021.
Shifting gears, we can see that 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease (ICD-10 Code U071) held the 19th position on the list of overall telehealth diagnoses in 2020. Healthcare providers assign this code because of a positive COVID-19 test result. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we can see that the number of confirmed positive COVID-19 diagnoses over telehealth has skyrocketed in over 2021, landing at the 13th position. This growth likely was caused by a proliferation of self-testing products and a greater availability of options patients can choose to get a COVID test. For patients who may be at-risk by traveling in public spaces, or who may be too far to reasonably get a test, telehealth is a convenient and safe alternative.
While both datasets offer intriguing insights into how patients are using telehealth services, the impact on the way they think about how they receive care is significant. The appetite for a safe, convenient and personal discussion of health between patient and provider is there.
As more patients turn to telemedicine, we can expect more healthcare providers to integrate virtual care programs as a necessity to remain competitive, improve health outcomes and strengthen the trusted relationship between patients and their providers.