Healthcare Insights

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 Explore dataset
1F411 Generalized anxiety disorder 4,370,744Explore
2I10 Essential (primary) hypertension 4,236,428Explore
3F419 Anxiety disorder, unspecified 2,287,459Explore
4F331 Major depressive disorder, recurrent, moderate 2,138,925Explore
5E785 Hyperlipidemia, unspecified 1,568,414Explore
6F4310 Post-traumatic stress disorder, unspecified 1,466,202Explore
7F902Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, combined type 1,465,407Explore
8F329Major depressive disorder, single episode, unspecified 1,240,880Explore
9K219 Gastro-esophageal reflux disease without esophagitis 1,093,442 Explore
10E782 Mixed hyperlipidemia 1,004,606Explore
11E559 Vitamin D deficiency, unspecified 878,467Explore
12E119 Type 2 diabetes mellitus without complications 720,193Explore
13M545 Low back pain 671,375Explore
14Z20828Contact with and (suspected) exposure to other viral communicable diseases 658,240Explore
15F4323 Adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood550,090Explore
16F900Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, predominantly inattentive type456,381Explore
18E039Hypothyroidism, unspecified 382,183Explore
19U0712019-nCoV acute respiratory disease 246,835Explore
20F332Major depressive disorder, recurrent severe without psychotic features163,799Explore

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 Explore dataset
1. F411 Generalized anxiety disorder 4,682,382Explore
2. F331 Major depressive disorder, recurrent, moderate2,228,280Explore
3. I10Essential (primary) hypertension 2,164,075Explore
4. F419 Anxiety disorder, unspecified 1,982,860Explore
5. F4310 Post-traumatic stress disorder, unspecified 1,456,136Explore
6.  F902Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, combined type 1,323,882Explore
7. F329Major depressive disorder, single episode, unspecified 1,056,455Explore
8. F4323 Adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood 896,241Explore
9. E785Hyperlipidemia, unspecified 887,968Explore
10. F900Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, predominantly inattentive type841,350Explore
11. F332Major depressive disorder, recurrent severe without psychotic features 619,662Explore
12. E559 Vitamin D deficiency, unspecified 517,607Explore
13. U0712019-nCoV acute respiratory disease 408,686Explore
14. K219Gastro-esophageal reflux disease without esophagitis404,206Explore
15. F410 Panic disorder [episodic paroxysmal anxiety] 368,967Explore
16. Z20822 Contact with and (suspected) exposure to COVID-19 357,985Explore
17. E782Mixed hyperlipidemia 271,094Explore
18. F330Major depressive disorder, recurrent, mild232,128Explore
19. E119 Type 2 diabetes mellitus without complications 156,557Explore
20. J069Acute upper respiratory infection, unspecified136,982Explore

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.