A new white paper released today from the nonprofit FAIR Health looked at medical pricing and other health care trends from 2012 to 2017 and found that people in the U.S. used more telehealth services and urgent care centers in 2017 than during the previous year.
Here’s a closer look at the report’s findings:
- Telehealth: Use of telemedicine services grew nationally by 53 percent between 2016 and 2017, with 55 percent growth in urban areas and 29 percent growth in rural areas. Oklahoma had the most telehealth usage, New Jersey the least.
- Urgent care centers: The use of urgent care centers in urban areas increased by 15 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, while staying the same in rural areas. The average price per 30-minute visit was most expensive for urgent care centers, at $213, compared to $207 in a doctor’s office and $129 in a retail clinic.
- Emergency care: Emergency department use decreased 2 percent between 2016 and 2017 — by 1 percent in urban areas and 10 percent in rural areas. Women were more likely than men to use the ED, and among adult patients not in college, the diagnosis with the most ED visits was acute respiratory infections.