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: 

  1. The data could corroborate the belief that more physicians are seeing the benefits of technology in their practice.  

  1. The data could support larger studies that the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting our mental and neurological wellbeing

  2. As the healthcare industry continues to adapt to the changes brought by the pandemic, patients are receiving treatment in new care locations, such as at-home or at an urgent care facility

Below, we take a look at how the top 20 most reported telehealth diagnoses have changed from 2020 to 2021. 

Top 20 telehealth diagnoses in 2020 

Rank 

ICD-10 Code 

ICD-10 Description 

Total Procedures 

  1.  

F411 

Generalized anxiety disorder 

4,370,744

  1.  

I10 

Essential (primary) hypertension 

4,236,428

  1.  

F419 

Anxiety disorder, unspecified 

2,287,459

  1.  

F331 

Major depressive disorder, recurrent, moderate 

2,138,925

  1.  

E785 

Hyperlipidemia, unspecified 

1,568,414

  1.  

F4310 

Post-traumatic stress disorder, unspecified 

1,466,202

  1.  

F902

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, combined type 

1,465,407

  1.  

F329

Major depressive disorder, single episode, unspecified 

1,240,880

  1.  

K219 

Gastro-esophageal reflux disease without esophagitis 

1,093,442 

  1.  

E782 

Mixed hyperlipidemia 

1,004,606

  1.  

E559 

Vitamin D deficiency, unspecified 

878,467

  1.  

E119 

Type 2 diabetes mellitus without complications 

720,193

  1.  

M545 

Low back pain 

671,375

  1.  

Z20828

Contact with and (suspected) exposure to other viral communicable diseases 

658,240

  1.  

F4323 

Adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood

550,090

  1.  

F900

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, predominantly inattentive type

456,381

  1.  

R05

Cough

444,649

  1.  

E039

Hypothyroidism, unspecified 

382,183

  1.  

U071

2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease 

246,835

  1.  

F332

Major depressive disorder, recurrent severe without psychotic features

163,799

Fig. 1 Data from Definitive Healthcare’s Medical Claims database. Data is from the calendar year 2020. Commercial claims data is sourced from multiple medical claims clearinghouses in the United States. Data is updated monthly—accessed December 2021. 

Top 20 Telehealth Diagnoses in 2021 

Rank 

ICD-10 Code 

ICD-10 Description 

Total Procedures 

1. 

F411 

Generalized anxiety disorder 

4,682,382

2. 

F331 

Major depressive disorder, recurrent, moderate

2,228,280

3. 

I10

Essential (primary) hypertension 

2,164,075

4. 

F419 

Anxiety disorder, unspecified 

1,982,860

5. 

F4310 

Post-traumatic stress disorder, unspecified 

1,456,136

6.  

F902

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, combined type 

1,323,882

7. 

F329

Major depressive disorder, single episode, unspecified 

1,056,455

8. 

F4323 

Adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood 

896,241

9. 

E785

Hyperlipidemia, unspecified 

887,968

10. 

F900

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, predominantly inattentive type

841,350

11. 

F332

Major depressive disorder, recurrent severe without psychotic features 

619,662

12. 

E559 

Vitamin D deficiency, unspecified 

517,607

13. 

U071

2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease 

408,686

14. 

K219

Gastro-esophageal reflux disease without esophagitis

404,206

15. 

F410 

Panic disorder [episodic paroxysmal anxiety] 

368,967

16. 

Z20822 

Contact with and (suspected) exposure to COVID-19 

357,985

17. 

E782

Mixed hyperlipidemia 

271,094

18. 

F330

Major depressive disorder, recurrent, mild

232,128

19. 

E119 

Type 2 diabetes mellitus without complications 

156,557

20. 

J069

Acute upper respiratory infection, unspecified

136,982

Fig. 2 Data from Definitive Healthcare’s Medical Claims database. Data is from the calendar year 2021. Commercial claims data is sourced from multiple medical claims clearinghouses in the United States. Data is updated monthly—December 2021. 

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.  

 

 

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