According to survey results of American College of Physician® members, effective adoption and usage of telehealth technologies in internal medicine practices may be improved with appropriate guidance and education.
The administrators of this survey sought to evaluate the adoption of telehealth by internal medicine physicians, specifically whether telehealth technologies were available to their practices and how frequently they used these technologies with their patients.
A random sample of 233 American College of Physician members, age ≤65, who provided outpatient care (72% general internists and 28% subspecialists), completed the survey, which focused on 5 categories of telehealth technology: video visits, e-consults, monitoring, management, and wearables. Respondents answered whether they had implemented technology in their practices or if they were considering it, and if they had implemented technology, their rate of weekly usage. The survey further asked about technology decision making and barriers to adoption.
Overall, 51% of the respondents said they worked in a practice that had adopted ≥1 of the 5 telehealth technologies. Survey findings showed that telehealth implementation and usage varied widely among internists and subspecialists, depending on the category of telehealth technology. The most widely adopted technology was e-consult, which 33% of the respondents reported having the technology to perform; of these, 63% said they used e-consults weekly whereas only 9% said they had never used it. The least implemented technologies were remote care management (24%) and video visits (18%). Interestingly, having the technology did not equate to its adoption and usage (eg, of individuals with remote care management technology, only 50% used it every week, and only 19% used video visit technology every week).
The survey further revealed that physicians have some concerns about the use of telehealth in their practice, such as the challenge of integrating virtual care into their practice, patient access to technology, and concerns surrounding the accuracy, security, and privacy of information. To improve the adoption and usage of telehealth, education on the effective integration of these technologies into medical practices is recommended.
American College of Physicians®. ACP releases survey results about telehealth technology availability and use among internists [press release].