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Humana study touts telehealth cost cuts, with comparable follow-ups

October 3, 2019

  • Telemedicine visits were paid out at an average of $38 — a much lower price tag than the $114 cost of a face-to-face consultation, according to a yearlong study from Humana. Researchers used 2,740 patient pairs that were matched for diagnosis, profession, pharmacy coverage, age, net worth, location and other factors.
  • The payer used virtual care company Doctor On Demand’s data and found comparable rates of follow-up visits between telemedicine and in-office visits within two weeks. At the same time, telemedicine had slightly higher numbers for physician (6.6%), ER (1.3%) and urgent care referrals (0.9%) compared to in-office for those referrals (5.1%, 1.1% and 0.1%, respectively).
  • As for prescribing practices, doctors who saw patients remotely prescribed antibiotics at a lower rate (36.1%) than doctors in-office (40.1%).

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