What’s the news: Last year, 74.4% of physicians surveyed reported that telehealth was used in their medical practices, nearly three times more than in 2018, a recent AMA report shows. is available and supports the need for policies that continue to support this important way of accessing care. ,
Videoconferencing with patients was the main driver of change, as its availability was more than four times more likely in 2022 than four years ago, according to findings from the AMA Policy Research Perspectives report on telehealth (PDF). Only 14.3% of physicians had the ability to use telehealth for videoconferencing with patients in 2018, compared to 66.3% of physicians in 2022. Meanwhile, physicians reporting use of remote-patient monitoring in their practice increased from 10.4 to 21.5% last year. % in 2018.
While the urgent need has diminished due to the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth, and especially remote visits with patients, have become part of the mainstream way physicians provide care, the report said, Carroll K. Written by Ken, PhD, AMA Director of Economics and Health Policy Research.
Supporting telehealth is an essential component of the AMA Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians.
Telehealth is critical to the future of health care, which is why the AMA continues to lead the charge to aggressively expand telehealth policy, research, and resources to ensure physician practice sustainability and fair payment.
why is it important: Telemedicine can help reduce health disparities and improve patients’ access to care, and research shows that telehealth and in-person diagnoses match about 90% of the time.
Among other things, telehealth has provided patients and physicians a new way to manage chronic disease. The newly published AMA Survey Research Perspectives revealed that, in 2022:
- There were 54.9% of physicians in practices that used telehealth to manage patients with chronic diseases, up from 9.9% in 2018.
- 49.8% were in practices that used telehealth to diagnose or treat patients, up from 15.6% in 2018.
- 24.4% worked in a practice that provided after-hours care or overnight call access to patients via telehealthup, up from 9.9% in 2018.
Of physicians surveyed last year, 53.9% had provided a videoconferencing visit in the past week, while 49% had provided an audio-only visit.
Those percentages are lower than the shares of physicians whose practices offer videoconferencing or audio-only visits because not all physicians in the practice can access what is offered. And in multispecialty practices, there is likely to be disagreement among specialists about how often they use telehealth.
For example, an AMA survey showed that 83.1% of psychiatrists provided a video visit in the week before the survey. The rates were 66.8% for primary care physicians, 64.3% for medical specialists, and 45.3% for surgeons.
Specifically, Medicare claims that data shows that 3% of total 2022 spending was from telehealth, with the share of telehealth spending for psychiatrists at 33%. For endocrinology, the next highest physician specialty, it was 9%, the AMA reports.
learn more: The AMA’s advocacy helped secure congressional action that extended Medicare telehealth coverage through 2024, and the AMA is pushing for permanent policy changes that support telehealth for the long term. Visit AMA Advocacy in Action to learn what’s at stake in support of telehealth and other advocacy priorities the AMA is actively working on.
Meanwhile, the AMA Future of Health Immersion Program helps physicians, therapists and health systems adapt and maintain telehealth and digital care practices across their organizations. A new AMA report State Telehealth Policy Trends: A Review for the Year to 2023 (PDF) details changes across the country in telehealth coverage. And payment parity, telehealth licensing, audio-only telehealth and more.
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