Few Physicians Work in Practices That Use Telemedicine

Specialty and larger practice size are correlates of telemedicine use.
Specialty and larger practice size are correlates of telemedicine use.

HealthDay News — Only 15.4% of physicians work in practices that use telemedicine for a wide spectrum of patient interactions, with larger practice size being an important correlate of telemedicine use, according to a study published in the December issue of Health Affairs.

Carol K. Kane, PhD, and Kurt Gillis, PhD, from the American Medical Association in Chicago, estimated physicians' use of telemedicine using data from the American Medical Association 2016 Physician Practice Benchmark Survey.

The researchers found that 15.4% of physicians worked in practices that used telemedicine for a wide spectrum of patient interactions in 2016; these interactions ranged from e-visits to diagnoses made by radiologists who used telemedicine to store and forward data. Overall, 11.2% of physicians worked in practices that used telemedicine for interactions between physicians and health care professionals in 2016. Larger practice size and specialty correlated with telemedicine use.

"Our work suggests that despite regulatory and legislative changes designed to encourage the use of telemedicine, the financial burden of implementing it may be a continuing barrier, especially for small practices," the authors write.

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