Where is telehealth in 2022? The pandemic showed how telemedicine could change how we think about health care interactions, with virtual visits increasing almost 40 times, according to data from McKinsey. Today, telehealth utilization has stabilized at levels 38 times (yes, that’s 38 times!) higher than before the pandemic. And consumer and provider attitudes toward telehealth have also improved since before the pandemic. Telemynd’s CEO, Patrick Herguth, said only 6 months ago, “between third quarter 2020 and second quarter 2021 we experienced 4X growth in new patients seeking mental health services, an upward trend we continued to see as we move through 2021 at a record-setting 61% increase in demand. Both clinicians and patients have demonstrated their ability to quickly adapt to telemedicine with no sign of slowing down.”
In this article, we look at the most recent trends, why telebehavioral health works, how to address any remaining barriers, and predictions for the future.
Consumer demand for virtual health care remains high going into 2022
One study found that 78% of patients who currently use telebehavioral health are very or extremely satisfied with their telehealth experiences, and 75% are more likely to continue to use it going forward. In another recent study, 40% of surveyed consumers (including those who have never used telehealth) said they would try it or continue using it — up from 11% prior to the pandemic.
Why has telebehavioral health been so successful?
For providers, it remains a convenient, cost-effective way to diagnose and treat many behavioral health issues. As well, it removes the overhead and upkeep of a physical location.
Consumers continue to see the following benefits of telebehavioral health:
- Creates unprecedented convenience - appointments can be done wherever and whenever is most convenient.
- Removes the stigma associated with physically going to an office or treatment facility.
- Saves time with virtual screenings and evaluations.
- Expands access for those who live in a rural area, have limited mobility, or reside in long-term care facilities.
- Shortens delays to meet with providers.
What’s the future of telebehavioral health?
Most experts who study trends in health care see telebehavioral health expanding further in the future, where it makes sense. The American Medical Association says that providers and practices “have built successful telehealth systems that are making care more accessible and convenient for patients—there should be no turning back now.” Telemynd’s Patrick Herguth says, “The pandemic exposed and exacerbated the mental health crisis. It is a highly personal matter that requires a real human connection in order to succeed. Telemedicine expands our ability to match the right provider to patients, irrespective of where they’re located. People-oriented technology advancements will lead to even greater innovative care models that improve outcomes while lowering the cost of care for everyone.”
Telehealth issues like the following will need continued work to create an even better experience for providers and consumers:
- technology security
- care payment mechanisms
- patient feedback methods
- education and promotion so that more Americans know they can access telehealth
As long as we continue to address these, what started off as just ‘a necessity’ during the pandemic will become the norm for health care even beyond 2022.
If you need help with mental health issues, consider contacting a qualified telebehavioral health professional
If you’re a client, request an appointment online or call our live support for assistance in scheduling care today. Our mental health professionals are trained in multiple mental health disorders and have experience treating them via online appointments - from the convenience and privacy of your home or wherever works for you. If you’re a behavioral health provider looking to join our network, see all the benefits and learn how to apply here.