Direct-to-Consumer Telehealth Platforms Lag Behind Competition


The pandemic has changed patients’ use and perceptions of healthcare organizations. The question remains: Will those changes here to stay?


Most telehealth users accessed virtual care services through their regular doctor or health plan as opposed to direct-to-consumer telehealth platforms, according to new data from Morning Consult.

Telehealth gained popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic and stakeholders are working to keep up with the demand for virtual care. Companies have turned to direct-to-consumer telehealth platforms, which offer an immediate solution for minor health concerns. Meanwhile, payers and providers have started to implement specialized and primary care telehealth programs for their members.

Seventy-two percent of telehealth users reported that they attended appointments through their doctor or health insurance, while 17 percent said they used on-demand telehealth services. Eleven percent reported that they used both types of telehealth services.

While more than half (53 percent) of the about 2,200 survey respondents still prefer in-person care over telehealth, the number drops to 45 percent among adults who have used telehealth before, according to the survey results. Almost the same share of individuals who have used virtual care in the past said that they prefer telehealth (40 percent). READ MORE


Pfizer recently announced that its COVID-19 treatment, PAXLOVID, reduced hospitalization and death in high-risk adults with coronavirus by 89 percent compared to placebo.

In the Phase 2/3 EPIC-HR study, patients were randomized to receive PAXLOVID or placebo. In the study, about one percent of patients who received PAXLOVID were hospitalized through Day 28 following randomization, compared to 6.7 percent of patients who received placebo.

Similar reductions in COVID-19-related hospitalizations or death were observed in patients treated within five days of symptom onset. Specifically, about 0.8 percent of patients who received PAXLOVID were hospitalized through Day 28 compared to seven percent of patients who received placebo and were hospitalized or died. Overall, researchers reported no deaths in the PAXLOVID group and ten deaths in the placebo group. READ MORE


According to a Press Ganey report, patient experience and perception of their care have decreased nationally since the start of the pandemic.

Prior to the pandemic, patient experience trends remained stagnant and were determined by region, state, and healthcare organization. Patient satisfaction consulting company, Press Ganey, conducted a national HCAHPS analysis to look at the change in patients’ likelihood to recommend their healthcare experience to their family and friends since the start of the pandemic.

The data concluded an overall decline in patients’ perception of their across all healthcare settings. In comparison to all healthcare facilities, medical practices saw the most significant decrease in patient likelihood to recommend regarding timely care; this includes phone response, ability to book an appointment when needed, seeing a doctor within 15 minutes, and timeliness of test results. Emergency department scores saw the greatest with related to receiving care within 30 minutes of arrival.

The survey showed a 4.5 percent decrease in the number of patients that would recommend a hospital. In addition, the number of patients that would rate their hospital experience a 10/10 decreased by 4%. READ MORE


United Behavioral Health is being sued for allegedly denying mental healthcare and substance abuse care claims through its bundled payment policy.

United Behavioral Health administers UnitedHealth Group’s substance abuse care benefits and mental healthcare benefits for employer-sponsored health plans. It is wholly owned by UnitedHealth Group.

The complaint argues that the guidelines which United Behavioral Health employed to deny these claims were excessively restrictive. The legal team pointed to a previous case in which the court determined that United Behavioral Health’s practices were too restrictive and contended that the guidelines had not loosened much since then.

The lawsuit also opposes United Behavioral Health’s bundled payment policy. Employers can use episode of care models or bundled models to control costs. However, the lawsuit argues that United Behavioral Health used bundled payments to avoid covering medically necessary treatments.


Johns Hopkins University researchers developed a machine-learning algorithm that uses predictive analytics to identify adolescents experiencing suicidal thoughts and behavior.

After decades of analysis, researchers discovered specific risk factors associated with suicidal thought and behavior among adolescents, helping to improve suicide prevention efforts. However, few studies have examined these risk factors in combination with each other, especially in a large adolescent population.

The research team used machine learning to analyze data from a survey of high school students in Utah. The survey is routinely conducted to monitor issues, including drug abuse and mental health. The data featured responses from more than 300 questions each from over 179,000 high school students who took the survey between 2011 and 2017. Additionally, the researchers studied demographic data provided by the United States census.

The team discovered they could use the survey data to predict with 91 percent accuracy which students’ answers indicated suicidal thoughts or behavior. READ MORE


The Adaptive Medical Partners (AMP) conducted a survey of over 1,000 physicians and clinicians from their network to gather insight regarding the impact of the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. A third of the surveyed respondents disagreed with vaccine mandates.

The federal government issued a vaccine mandate requiring vaccinations or consistent COVID-19 test of employees for all companies with 100 or more workers. Prior to the mandate, numerous health systems put their mandate in place, many of which require the vaccine.

Recently, CMS announced that all eligible health care workers at facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs must get the COVID-19 vaccine by January 4, 2022.

Survey results revealed 77 percent of healthcare workers said the federal vaccine mandate will not impact their career plan, 7 percent said they will find a new job without a vaccine mandate, 3 percent said they would retire earlier due to the mandate, and 2 percent said will quit medicine entirely due to the mandate. However, 44 percent said the vaccine mandate imposed by the federal government will increase staff turnover at their organizations.

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