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Telemedicine Use Projected to Reach All-Time High in U.S. During 2019-2020 Flu Season, MDLIVE Reports

973 Days ago

MDLIVE’s Data Show Early Start to Flu Season with Peak Activity for Virtual Cold and Flu Visits Expected in January

Sunrise, Fla., Nov. 06, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Virtual doctor visits for patients with cold and flu symptoms are expected to reach record levels this flu season at MDLIVE, the company reported today. The projections, based on MDLIVE’s own AI-based predictive analytics that have been highlighted by Microsoft1, show that flu-related visits could increase by 43% from a year ago and would be the highest volume of patient visits during the annual flu season since MDLIVE’s founding in 2006.

In addition, MDLIVE’s proprietary data show that the start of U.S. flu activity as measured by percentage of overall virtual care visits has arrived earlier this season with some cases reported back in mid-July. MDLIVE has diagnosed 158% more patients with influenza over last year since the official start of the flu season on Oct. 1. MDLIVE’s models predict that peak flu season will begin in the U.S. this month, and MDLIVE’s own utilization is expected to peak this upcoming January.

“The projections reflect the growing utility of virtual care and its movement to become the preferred method of patient and physician interaction for initial and follow-up flu visits,” said Rich Berner, Chief Executive Officer of MDLIVE. “Key to this growth is our proven ability as a telemedicine provider to leverage our technology for preparedness of our own physician practice as well as our health systems partners and other collaborators. The convenience, quality and cost effectiveness of telemedicine are never more evident than when we address the urgent care needs during a severe flu season.”

Lyle Berkowitz, M.D., MDLIVE’s Chief Medical Officer and President of MDLIVE Medical Group, said, “Telemedicine is ideal for patients and providers during a busy flu season. In fact, flu is an appropriate condition that a doctor can diagnose by an assessment of a patient’s symptoms conducted via a convenient virtual visit. This ease of access to quality care around the clock also helps to address the overcrowding of urgent care clinics and emergency rooms that we see during the flu season. For our own health systems clients, the use of telemedicine is a significant benefit.”

Telemedicine enables patients experiencing flu-like symptoms to receive high-quality, affordable and convenient care 24/7 during a period when urgent care centers and Emergency Rooms (ERs) are frequently overcrowded. Medication can be prescribed as needed and sent to the patient’s pharmacy of choice. 

In addition, telemedicine makes good health sense for not only those seeking assistance from a virtual care provider, but for the general population as well. Because a patient experiencing flu-like symptoms can consult with a provider without needing to enter a crowded clinic or ER, the patient avoids coming in contact with additional germs as well as spreading their own.

Furthermore, post-visit surveys conducted by MDLIVE show that without the option of virtual care, 17% of patients diagnosed with the flu would have foregone medical care altogether. By postponing care, patients risk developing complex health issues that require more costly, intensive medical treatment. In most cases, medications prescribed for the flu must be taken in the first 48 hours of feeling sick to be most effective.


MDLIVE offers convenient and affordable virtual healthcare services to over 32 million members nationwide.  Our network of board certified physicians, dermatologists, therapists and psychiatrists are specially trained in virtual care, and are committed to the highest quality treatment and the best possible patient experience.  We leverage technology and artificial intelligence to simplify and streamline, connecting providers and patients whenever and wherever it’s most convenient, often within just minutes.  To learn more about our expanding product suite and our partnerships with major health plans, hospital systems, and employers, visit www.MDLIVE.com, download our app, or text “Sophie” to MDLIVE (635483) to register.

1 https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/learn/modules/ai-strategy-in-healthcare/2-ai-value-in-healthcare-insead

David Schull
Russo Partners
(858) 717-2310

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