Telehealth Use and Healthcare Utilization Among Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence From Louisiana Medicaid Claims Article

Full Text via DOI: 10.1007/s13300-023-01508-z Web of Science: 001106555800001

Cited authors

  • Shao YX, Shi LZ, Nauman E, Price-Haywood E, Stoecker C


  • Introduction The impact of telehealth use on healthcare utilization is limited, especially among Medicaid beneficiaries with type 2 diabetes. Considering the rapid adoption of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic, this study examined associations between telehealth use and healthcare utilization among Medicaid beneficiaries with type 2 diabetes.Methods Using Louisiana Medicaid claims data from March 2019 to August 2021, the associations were examined using a difference-in-difference model with propensity score weighting. Demographic characteristics, baseline comorbidities and healthcare utilization, and zip code level environmental factors were included in the analysis. The monthly frequency of healthcare services, including in-person outpatient visits, inpatient visits, emergency department (ED) visits and hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) tests, were measured as outcomes. Several sensitivity analyses were conducted across different subgroups.Results We included 48,992 beneficiaries with type 2 diabetes in the study of 27,340 beneficiaries in the telehealth group and 21,652 beneficiaries in the non-telehealth group. Of 1000 beneficiaries per month, the telehealth group had significantly more utilization compared to the non-telehealth group, with an increase of 195.049 in-person outpatient visits (95% CI: 166.169 to 223.929, p < 0.001), 3.816 inpatient visits (95% CI: 2.539 to 5.093, p < 0.001), 10.499 ED visits (95% CI: 7.287 to 13.712, p < 0.001) and 14.153 HbA1c tests (95% CI: 11.431 to 16.875, p < 0.001, respectively. Excluding beneficiaries who had ED or inpatient visits in the 30 days prior to receiving telehealth visits, overall ED visits significantly decreased for the telehealth group versus the non-telehealth group over time, by 9.456 visits (95% CI: - 12.356 to - 6.557, p < 0.001) per 1000 beneficiaries per month on average.Conclusion The study found that telehealth was associated with a significant increase in healthcare utilization in general but has the potential to decrease ED and inpatient utilization for some groups among low-income populations with diabetes.

Publication date

  • 2023

Published in

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1869-6953

Number of pages

  • 15