When physicians’ offices were closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and patients were under emergency stay-at-home orders, telehealth offered a way to maintain continuity of care.
In that respect, telehealth was just what the doctor ordered, and adoption of the technology skyrocketed because it filled a need by allowing health care services to be delivered while maintaining physical distancing. But this acceleration was also facilitated by the federal government, individual states and private insurance companies listening to physicians and removing regulatory barriers that previously limited telehealth use and payment of services.
AMA experts joined ReachMD host Matt Birnholz, MD, for a “Perspectives with the AMA” podcast in which they offered insight into the events that transpired to create the explosion of telehealth use and what is needed to sustain this forward movement.
Physician telehealth adoption had already doubled between 2016 and 2019 from 14% to 28%, according to AMA digital health research, and is now estimated to be anywhere between 60% to 90%, said Meg Barron, AMA digital health innovations vice president.
Physicians were “loud and clear” about what they needed to know before they felt comfortable adopting telehealth, Barron explained. The questions physicians needed answered were:
- Can you prove to me that it works, and were physicians involved in developing the technology?
- Will I receive proper payment?
- Is there liability coverage and can I feel confident in the efficacy and security of its solutions?
- Will it work in my practice? Can it fit