Telehealth use for behavioral health increases 45X since pandemic onset and more digital health briefs

Telehealth use for behavioral health services has increased 45 times since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic across all care settings and provider types, according to a report by Trilliant Health.

Less than 1% of all behavioral health visits were delivered via pre-pandemic telehealth. By the second quarter last year, 32.8% of behavioral health appointments were conducted through telehealth.

As of Q2 2022, behavioral health volumes were 18.1% above pre-pandemic levels. However, many people live in communities with relatively few behavioral healthcare providers. The average US county has 81 providers for every 100,000 residents.

Meanwhile, the report’s authors note that 50.8% of residency positions are concentrated among six states (New York, California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts).

Private equity investments in the sector, including behavioral health virtual care and digital health platforms, have also declined, totaling $2.6 billion with 289 deals in 2022. That marks a 52.9% drop in funding and a 15.8% drop in deals compared with 2021.

More Americans are taking medication to manage behavioral health conditions. Prescriptions increased by 58.2% among patients who took AAdderall and its generic to treat ADHD in individuals 22 to 44 years of age from Q1 2018 to Q2 2022. However, prescriptions of Adderall and its generic remained relatively unchanged in patients under 21 years old and over 45 years old.

The report also found a 107.4% increase in eating disorder diagnoses among US residents under the age of 18 and a 44% increase in depression disorders. Alcohol use was also on the rise during the pandemic, but 84% of patients seeking treatment for alcohol or substance use disorder who went to the emergency department did not receive follow-up care within 60 days.

“Based on the principles of economics, if demand continues to exceed supply, prices will increase. This will inherently increase the economic burden facing the US healthcare system, which is already fast approaching 20% โ€‹โ€‹of GDP,” the report’s authors wrote.


AI-backed imaging and care coordination company Viz.ai signed a multi-year agreement with global pharmaceutical company Bristol Myers Squibb to release an AI-enabled algorithm and software for provider workflow, dubbed Viz HCM.

Viz HCM will help identify and assess patients for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy by reviewing routine electrocardiograms and identifying suspected cases for clinical review. It will be integrated into Viz.ai’s Cardio Suite offering.

The San Francisco-based company submitted a De Novo request to the FDA for the algorithm as a Software-as-a-Medical-Device.

Dr. Manish Kohli will offer more detail during his HIMSS23 session “Digital Bridges: Bringing Hope and Healing to Those Hurting Most.” It is scheduled for Thursday, April 20, at 1-2 pm CT at the South Building, Level 4, in room S406 A.

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