A recent survey by the American Medical Association has revealed that physicians’ use of digital health, particularly telemedicine adoption and remote patient monitoring, has grown since 2016. This rise can be attributed to physicians’ improving attitudes towards digital health, explained the researchers. The Digital Health Research study showed that telemedicine engagement among providers doubled—from 14% of physicians to 28% over the three-year period—and remote patient monitoring (RPM) usage jumped from 13% of physician participation in 2016 to 22% in 2019. Overall, the results of the study indicate that physicians’ awareness of emerging technologies far exceeds the actual adoption rates, and over one-third of the respondents plan to incorporate more technologies into their practices in 2020. These findings match those of a 2019 research study by M3 Global Research and American Well.
Digital health, as defined by the Food and Drug Administration, refers to the integration of new technologies into the healthcare delivery model. The most prominent sectors include telemedicine, mobile health (mHealth), wearable devices, and health information technology (IT). By supplying a more holistic view of patient health, the data gathered by these tools enables providers to more accurately diagnose and treat medical conditions while empowering patients to become more engaged in their healthcare regimens and delivery. In addition, the proliferation of digital health technologies creates more options for patients in terms of preventive care, earlier diagnoses, and chronic care management.
Survey respondents pinpointed three critical requirements for using digital health: liability coverage, integration with electronic medical records, and data privacy. Physicians are also beginning to recognize the personal benefits offered by digital health use and telemedicine adoption; the top reasons for embracing the technologies include the ability to provide care remotely and the reduced levels of stress and burn-out.
Perhaps paradoxically, despite increased adoption of digital tools among most specialties and physician ages, overall enthusiasm for digital health actually fell slightly as compared to 2016; only telemedicine adoption and remote monitoring garnered more interest than before.
In a press release, AMA Board Chair Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH noted that physicians’ increasing acceptance of digital health will heighten the pressure on those technologies to meet elevated expectations and will greatly impact healthcare and patient outcomes. We look forward to seeing the enhancements in healthcare delivery and outcomes that result from more widespread adoption of digital health tools.
To read more about the 2019 Digital Health Research study results, visit Healthleaders Media here.
To view an analysis of the study results, visit the AMA here.