Company Sees Growth in Virtual Behavioral Health Visits Across All Age Segments
CHICAGO and MIRAMAR, Fla. (May 5, 2020) – MDLIVE Inc. today reported detailed data for its behavioral health business that show significant growth this year across all member age segments and demonstrate the critical role of virtual care during the COVID-19 pandemic. With individuals experiencing heightened levels of stress and anxiety, shelter in place orders, and continued fear of contagion:
- Behavioral health visit volume increased by nearly 50% in March over the monthly average for January and February. Additionally, MDLIVE saw a 72% increase in visit volume in April as compared to March.
- Repeat visit rates among behavioral health users are strong with 89% of therapy patients and 69% of psychiatry patients having conducted two or more visits during the past 12 months. MDLIVE’s “Overall Satisfaction” rating is 92.
- MDLIVE expanded its national provider network of board-certified psychiatrists and licensed therapists by 50% over the past few months to meet an anticipated increase in demand.
- The average wait time to schedule a behavioral health appointment remains at two to three days despite the significant increase in demand, which continues to be less than the weeks or months typically required for an in-office appointment. (1)
- MDLIVE has increased its behavioral health footprint to include 34.6 million members as of March 31, 2020, mostly through existing partner relationships. This expansion represents year-over-year (YOY) growth of 187%, which points to the growing significance of virtual behavioral health as part of a comprehensive benefits offering.
“MDLIVE’s ability to treat patients virtually is ideal for times like this, when the demand for quality, cost-effective care is great but continued fears of contagion have patients questioning whether it’s safe to go to an office appointment,” said Charles Jones, MDLIVE’s chairman and chief executive officer. “We expanded our provider network to ensure we continue to meet the growing demand for virtual care, and to ensure we meet the needs of millions of members who recently gained access to MDLIVE behavioral health services as a benefit through our health plan partners.”
According to proprietary client research conducted by MDLIVE in late 2019, members 25-44 were identified as the most likely users of virtual behavioral health. However, MDLIVE has seen significant growth in behavioral health visits across all age segments since the start of the pandemic. Increases in visit volume in the March-April timeframe over January-February by age segment are:
|Age Segment||Volume Increase|
The study also identified top drivers of member interest, including the ability to access care comfortably from any location, creation of a safe space for discussion of sensitive issues, less wait time, diagnosis and treatment with less hassle, and the ease of access to reliable care when a member’s usual doctor is not available.
“We have taken a careful, data-driven approach to building this business segment in line with our clients’ input,” said Mindy Heintskill, MDLIVE’s chief marketing officer. “As the recent metrics show, the growth has been far greater and more uniform across various age groups than any of us predicted. We expect this to continue for quite some time based on the heightened awareness of telehealth that has resulted from the media coverage and consumers’ ongoing concerns about being exposed to COVID-19. Also, we have entered the time of year when there traditionally is an increase in the need for behavioral health services.”
“As states move forward with phased re-opening plans, highly vulnerable populations with physical health issues will be advised to continue to practice social distancing,” said Heintskill. “There is a greater incidence of mental health issues among these individuals with chronic and debilitating conditions. Virtual behavioral care will remain in these cases as the primary means to access a therapist or psychiatrist in the safest, most convenient manner.”
MDLIVE’s comprehensive behavioral health offering is comprised of MDLIVE Therapy and MDLIVE Psychiatry. With MDLIVE Therapy, members can speak with a licensed therapist via secure phone or video using a phone or computer from the comfort of home. Most appointments with MDLIVE therapists can be scheduled within days. With MDLIVE Psychiatry, members can enjoy the same conveniences of the virtual therapy offering along with the added benefit of having a board-certified doctor who can prescribe and refill medication as needed.
(2) MDLIVE behavioral health services are only available to individuals age 10 and older.