A new survey by M3 Global Research and American Well has revealed that more physicians are using telemedicine now (22 percent) than in 2015 (5 percent), and the trend is expected to continue upwards; over half of US doctors expect to use the technology by 2022. The polled physicians cited a number of reasons for their readiness for telemedicine adoption, although some uncertainties remain.
Above all, the doctors expressed a desire to improve patients’ access to care, improve outcomes, and attract and retain patients. Some providers viewed telemedicine as a way to overcome the increasing physician shortage, while others hoped to shrink burnout rates since they can now see more patients, more efficiently. Interestingly, newer physicians (aged 25-34) were less eager to use telemedicine than other young physicians (aged 35-44); the researchers theorized that the newer physicians’ reduced experience might make them less confident about telemedicine adoption.
The researchers felt that the recent changes in the reimbursement landscape have also encouraged physicians to embrace telemedicine, although reimbursement and regulatory issues are still making it difficult for doctors to dive in. Other barriers include lack of physician buy-in, poor leadership support, and questions about clinical appropriateness. These subjects have improved during the last few years, but they’re far from where they need to be if we truly want to maximize the benefits of telemedicine adoption.
Overall, between the physicians’ eagerness to use telemedicine, the more promising reimbursement landscape, and health systems’ expansion and innovative uses of telemedicine, the market is ripe for significant growth in the coming years. Here at swyMed, we’re ready for a boom in telemedicine adoption—how about you?