Doctor questioning

Why Are Some Physicians Slow to Embrace Telemedicine?

A recent survey has revealed that although doctors and consumers agree on the benefits of telemedicine, doctors have been slower to embrace the technology than their patients. According to the Deloitte 2018 Surveys of US Health Care Consumers and Physicians, over half of the consumers who have not yet tried video visits are willing to use the technology in the future, but less than one out of five physicians without video visit capability plans to add the service to his/her practice during the next couple years. The good news is that the doctors who have tried telemedicine generally feel good about it; indeed, the majority of physicians who have previously utilized telemedicine expect usage to increase over the next two years.

The survey identified several factors that contribute to the physicians’ reluctance to use telemedicine: lack of reimbursement, complicated licensing requirements, high cost of technologies, poor fit into workflow, reliability, and data security. Qualms about medical errors proved to be the largest concern; the survey data suggest that physicians need evidence and hands-on experience with telemedicine to overcome this skepticism.

Reimbursement and licensing issues, while progressing slowly toward resolution, should not deter organizations from pursuing telemedicine. On a more immediate level, HealthLeaders Media offers four suggestions on how to stimulate interest in and encourage adoption of telemedicine among doctors, particularly by including them in strategic processes:

  1. Create an infrastructure that will support the vision.
  2. Align providers and staff throughout the organization to support telemedicine with a focus on improving patient experience, quality, and cost-effectiveness.
  3. Enable workflow, integration, and clinical process design.
  4. Routinize virtual care.

To read more about the survey, visit Deloitte’s website here.

To read HealthLeaders Media’s take on the survey results, click here.

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