Top 25 telemedicine procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic

While telemedicine systems, also described as telehealth, have been used by patients and providers for years, it wasn’t until the COVID-19 pandemic that adoption would skyrocket.

Social distancing guidelines, mandated lockdowns, and a general concern of being infected kept most patients indoors and shuttered the offices of many doctors. Telehealth rose to prominence during the height of the coronavirus and has continued to be used by doctors today to connect with patients, monitor ongoing conditions, and answer questions. As of 2022, COVID-19 remains “a public health emergency of international concern,” according to the WHO.

Using ClaimsMx, we’re able to track the kinds of procedures that happen most commonly over telemedicine. Since the pandemic began, this article has served as a record of procedures over the years starting from 2019. Below, we list the most up-to-date telemedicine procedure claims data.

25 most reported telemedicine procedures in 2022

CPT Code CPT Description TOTAL Procedures TOTAL Charges Avg. Charge/Procedure
99213 OFFICE O/P EST LOW 20-29 MIN 9,839,654 $1,707,487,330 $173.53
90837 PSYTX W PT 60 MINUTES 8,904,627 $1,696,849,616 $190.56
99214 OFFICE O/P EST MOD 30-39 MIN 8,283,113 $2,107,506,250 $254.43
90834 PSYTX W PT 45 MINUTES 4,334,431 $731,873,894 $168.85
99212 OFFICE O/P EST SF 10-19 MIN 1,844,177 $215,475,297 $116.84
99442 PHONE E/M PHYS/QHP 11-20 MIN 1,716,845 $248,251,109 $144.60
90832 PSYTX W PT 30 MINUTES 1,701,955 $274,908,170 $161.52
90833 PSYTX W PT W E/M 30 MIN 1,448,258 $206,845,789 $142.82
99441 PHONE E/M PHYS/QHP 5-10 MIN 1,226,929 $102,094,138 $83.21
99215 OFFICE O/P EST HI 40-54 MIN 952,399 $392,412,264 $412.03
Q3014 Telehealth facility fee 910,318 $85,306,074 $93.71
99443 PHONE E/M PHYS/QHP 21-30 MIN 868,138 $186,078,805 $214.34
90791 PSYCH DIAGNOSTIC EVALUATION 853,224 $213,053,379 $249.70
92507 SPEECH/HEARING THERAPY 694,435 $111,631,598 $160.75
90853 GROUP PSYCHOTHERAPY 516,573 $66,946,324 $129.60
T1015 Clinic service 501,445 $89,006,683 $177.50
99203 OFFICE O/P NEW LOW 30-44 MIN 498,301 $132,795,063 $266.50
H2019 Behavioral therapy svc, per 15 min 497,796 $65,120,103 $130.82
99204 OFFICE O/P NEW MOD 45-59 MIN 473,471 $194,634,434 $411.08
99202 OFFICE O/P NEW SF 15-29 MIN 458,093 $61,910,312 $135.15
H0004 Alcohol and/or drug services 455,732 $73,391,898 $161.04
99211 OFF/OP EST MAY X REQ PHY/QHP 412,729 $34,565,786 $83.75
90847 FAMILY PSYTX W/PT 50 MIN 365,531 $73,081,739 $199.93
G2012 Brief check in by md/qhp 322,135 $12,270,672 $38.09
90785 PSYTX COMPLEX INTERACTIVE 312,303 $17,438,897 $55.84

Fig. 1 Data from Definitive Healthcare’s Medical Claims database. Data is from the calendar year 2022 through August (most recent available). Commercial claims data is sourced from multiple medical claims clearinghouses in the United States. Data accessed September 2022. 

Many of the top telemedicine procedure codes for 2022 relate to outpatient visits with established patients over a certain period of time. For example, CPT codes 99213, 99214, and 99212 (ranks 1,3, and 5 respectively) describe patient visits for acute injuries or illnesses of varying degrees of severity. CPT 99213 is coded when a patient with a stable chronic illness or acute uncomplicated injury meets with their doctor for 20-29 minutes. However, code 99214 describes a patient with a progressing illness or an injury that requires potential surgical treatment. Finally, code 99212 describes a patient with a condition that requires over-the-counter medication for treatment.

Many telemedicine procedures in 2022 were for therapy-related services. CPT codes 90837 and 90834 describe psychotherapy sessions to treat symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stressors at work and home. Other types of therapy, like speech and hearing (CPT 92507) and therapeutic behavioral services (CPT H2019) also feature on our list. From our research into telemedicine procedures, we’ve previously identified that therapies and mental health-related specialties are a good fit for telemedicine.

25 most reported telemedicine procedures in 2021

CPT Code CPT Description TOTAL Procedures TOTAL Charges Avg. Charge/Procedure
99213 OFFICE O/P EST LOW 20-29 MIN 20,899,613 $3,437,748,659 $164.49
99214 OFFICE O/P EST MOD 30-39 MIN 16,393,576 $3,923,341,743 $239.32
90837 PSYTX W PT 60 MINUTES 15,538,110 $2,817,426,939 $181.32
90834 PSYTX W PT 45 MINUTES 8,754,742 $1,429,342,675 $163.26
99442 PHONE E/M PHYS/QHP 11-20 MIN 3,926,625 $532,837,088 $135.70
99212 OFFICE O/P EST SF 10-19 MIN 3,854,184 $432,266,497 $112.16
90832 PSYTX W PT 30 MINUTES 3,815,245 $582,767,158 $152.75
99441 PHONE E/M PHYS/QHP 5-10 MIN 2,659,144 $213,525,828 $80.30
90833 PSYTX W PT W E/M 30 MIN 2,326,174 $321,743,528 $138.31
99443 PHONE E/M PHYS/QHP 21-30 MIN 2,126,108 $424,473,299 $199.65
Q3014 Telehealth facility fee 1,935,009 $171,320,340 $88.54
99215 OFFICE O/P EST HI 40-54 MIN 1,726,297 $625,644,543 $362.42
90791 PSYCH DIAGNOSTIC EVALUATION 1,688,685 $399,545,977 $236.60
92507 SPEECH/HEARING THERAPY 1,559,499 $252,000,371 $161.59
99203 OFFICE O/P NEW LOW 30-44 MIN 1,305,826 $329,358,425 $252.22
T1016 Case management 1,282,745 $148,669,399 $115.90
H2019 Ther behav svc, per 15 min 1,263,664 $146,962,873 $116.30
90853 GROUP PSYCHOTHERAPY 1,118,354 $146,282,343 $130.80
99204 OFFICE O/P NEW MOD 45-59 MIN 1,060,675 $398,404,939 $375.61
T1015 Clinic service 1,022,892 $180,483,880 $176.44
99211 OFF/OP EST MAY X REQ PHY/QHP 964,524 $85,518,906 $88.66
H0004 Alcohol and/or drug services 839,302 $138,708,961 $165.27
90847 FAMILY PSYTX W/PT 50 MIN 837,824 $160,377,335 $191.42
99202 OFFICE O/P NEW SF 15-29 MIN 745,373 $120,558,035 $161.74
G2012 Brief check in by md/qhp 717,279 $27,964,688 $38.99

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 updated as of September 2022.

Comparing 2021 against 2022, we can see that the types of telemedicine procedures performed remained relatively the same. Many of the top codes are shared between the two lists, with slight position changes. CPT code 99213 remains the most common procedure performed for the two years. Meanwhile, code 90837, which is ranked third on our 2021 list, moves up to take the second-place position in 2022. Both lists prominently feature procedures related to therapy and psychiatry.

25 most reported telemedicine procedures in 2020

CPT Code CPT Description TOTAL Procedures TOTAL Charges Avg. Charge/Procedure
99213 OFFICE O/P EST LOW 20-29 MIN 26,771,069 $4,201,564,363 $156.94
99214 OFFICE O/P EST MOD 30-39 MIN 17,828,245 $4,118,233,138 $230.99
90837 PSYTX W PT 60 MINUTES 11,657,173 $2,058,407,338 $176.58
90834 PSYTX W PT 45 MINUTES 7,597,689 $1,207,928,924 $158.99
99442 PHONE E/M PHYS/QHP 11-20 MIN 6,081,905 $656,491,707 $107.94
99441 PHONE E/M PHYS/QHP 5-10 MIN 4,419,903 $278,493,902 $63.01
99212 OFFICE O/P EST SF 10-19 MIN 4,342,481 $446,051,682 $102.72
90832 PSYTX W PT 30 MINUTES 3,722,389 $534,911,901 $143.70
99443 PHONE E/M PHYS/QHP 21-30 MIN 3,314,787 $540,517,998 $163.06
Q3014 Telehealth facility fee 2,444,445 $195,830,210 $80.11
92507 SPEECH/HEARING THERAPY 1,820,362 $289,200,316 $158.87
99203 OFFICE O/P NEW LOW 30-44 MIN 1,585,746 $386,869,791 $243.97
90833 PSYTX W PT W E/M 30 MIN 1,580,870 $210,093,552 $132.90
99215 OFFICE O/P EST HI 40-54 MIN 1,385,665 $462,629,445 $333.87
90791 PSYCH DIAGNOSTIC EVALUATION 1,365,701 $322,171,358 $235.90
G2012 Brief check in by md/qhp 1,315,198 $55,073,050 $41.87
H2019 Ther behav svc, per 15 min 1,187,359 $130,424,965 $109.84
T1016 Case management 1,182,485 $120,977,096 $102.31
97530 THERAPEUTIC ACTIVITIES 1,113,277 $172,377,027 $154.84
99204 OFFICE O/P NEW MOD 45-59 MIN 1,066,145 $396,798,175 $372.18
97110 THERAPEUTIC EXERCISES 1,015,057 $153,475,649 $151.20
T1015 Clinic service 947,829 $164,071,462 $173.10
99211 OFF/OP EST MAY X REQ PHY/QHP 866,069 $66,242,229 $76.49
90847 FAMILY PSYTX W/PT 50 MIN 858,534 $162,129,556 $188.84
90853 GROUP PSYCHOTHERAPY 794,864 $112,132,020 $141.07

Fig. 3 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 updated as of September 2022.

Like 2022 and 2021, we can see that many of the same telemedicine procedures were performed in 2020.

It’s worth noting that procedure volume in 2020 is significantly higher than in 2019 and the years ahead of it. Telehealth encounters during this year had a staggering 8,336% national increase, with more than 160 million total visits. Patient visits would fall considerably in 2021 to roughly 120 million encounters. And while our claims data for telemedicine procedures is limited to only the first half of 2022, there have been only 59 million total encounters to date.

It seems likely that, as time goes on and the healthcare ecosystem adjusts to the consequences of the pandemic, telemedicine encounters will decline until it reaches a state of equilibrium. You can learn more about the future of telehealth, and which specialties the service isn’t a good fit for, by reading our blog here.

25 most reported telemedicine procedures in 2019

CPT Code CPT Description Total Procedures Total Charges Avg. Charge/Procedure
Q3014 Telehealth facility fee 359,836 $17,707,493 $49
93295 Interrogation device evaluation(s) (remote) up to 90 days 354151 $61,884,420 $175
99441 Telephone evaluation and management service by a physician; 5-10 minutes 242080 $5,118,548 $21
93228 Remote imaging for monitoring and management of active retinal disease with physician review interpretation and report 130915 $15,874,133 $121
99442 Telephone evaluation and management service by a physician; 11-20 minutes 93259 $2,700,217 $29
99444 Online evaluation and management service provided by a physician 92604 $4,732,859 $51
95941 Continuous intraoperative neurophysiology monitoring (remote or nearby); per hour 85399 $474,554,860 $5,557
98969 Online assessment and management service provided by a qualified nonphysician 84669 $4,110,542 $49
93270 External patient and auto-activated electrocardiographic rhythm derived event; remote download capability up to 30 days 81857 $18,367,689 $224
93229 External mobile cardiovascular telemetry with electrocardiographic recording; surveillance center for up to 30 days 54661 $95,786,613 $1,752
92227 Remote imaging for detection of retinal disease with analysis and report under physician supervision 50143 $3,180,386 $63
99443 Telephone evaluation and management service by a physician; 21-30 minutes 28298 $1,091,001 $39
92228 External mobile cardiovascular telemetry with electrocardiographic recording; surveillance up to 30 days 16314 $10,121,345 $620
99451 Interprofessional telephone/Internet/electronic health record assessment and management service; 5 minutes or more of medical consultative time 12094 $922,794 $76
T1014 Telehealth transmission; per minute 11529 $259,371 $22
G0426 Telehealth consultation emergency department or initial inpatient typically 50 minutes communicating with the patient via telehealth 5778 $2,104,257 $364
G0425 Telehealth consultation emergency department or initial inpatient typically 30 minutes communicating with the patient via telehealth 5533 $1,455,588 $263
G0407 Follow-up inpatient consultation limited physicians typically spend 25 minutes communicating with the patient via telehealth 5440 $848,109 $156
G0406 Follow-up inpatient consultation limited physicians typically spend 15 minutes communicating with the patient via telehealth 5330 $490,575 $92
G0427 Telehealth consultation emergency department or initial inpatient typically 70 minutes or more communicating with the patient via telehealth 3863 $1,898,397 $491
G0459 Inpatient telehealth pharmacologic management including prescription use and review of medication with no more than minimal medical psychotherapy 3210 $369,802 $115
99446 Interprofessional telephone/Internet/electronic health record assessment and management service; 5-10 minutes of medical consultative discussion and review 3064 $228,873 $75
G0408 Follow-up inpatient consultation physicians typically spend 35 minutes communicating with the patient via telehealth 3049 $737,654 $242
99447 Interprofessional telephone/Internet/electronic health record assessment and management service; 11-20 minutes of medical consultative discussion and review 2258 $292,066 $129
99449 Interprofessional telephone/Internet/electronic health record assessment and management service; 31 minutes or more of medical consultative discussion and review 1408 $246,454 $175

Fig. 4 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 updated as of September 2022.

For 2019, the most used telehealth procedure code was telehealth facility fee (Q3014), a CPT code used to request reimbursement for standard technology maintenance. Providers can report this code alongside any telehealth service given for assistance with any associated maintenance costs. As we can see from the charts, CPT code Q3014 fell sharply in the years that followed. The procedure dropped to rank 10 in 2020, and then once again to rank 11 where it would remain until the present day.

What’s the difference between telemedicine and telehealth?

While telemedicine and telehealth are often used interchangeably, there are subtle differences between the terms. Telemedicine refers to the practice of medicine using technology to deliver care at a distance. Telehealth, however, instead refers to the technologies and services that provide care at a distance.

Regardless of precise definitions, both telemedicine and telehealth are vital to breaking down barriers to care. The expansion of telehealth technology can significantly increase the accessibility of healthcare, especially to people living in rural areas and underserved communities.

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