Just in time to kickoff Telehealth Awareness Week, the American Medical Association released its latest digital health research report, giving us some fresh insight into the emerging tech landscape while reaffirming many of the trends we frequently cover.
The AMA surveyed 1,300 physicians in 2016, 2019, and 2022, tracking not only their current usage stats, but also their motivations for adopting new solutions.
The top line takeaway from the report is that physician adoption of digital health tools is accelerating even faster than it was prior to the pandemic, with the largest growth by-far coming from telehealth visits.
- Tele-visit utilization grew from 14% of practices in 2016, to 28% in 2019, then spiked to 80% in 2022. Remote monitoring devices lagged quite a ways behind, but still climbed from 12% to 30% over the same period.
- The adoption was driven by physicians across all practice sizes, settings, and specialties, with the average number of tools in use growing from 2.2 in 2016 to 3.8 in 2022. Definitely worth taking a look at the full usage breakdowns on slide 9.
Physicians jumped on the digital health bandwagon for a variety of reasons outside of COVID-19’s negative shock to in-person encounters.
- Improved clinical outcomes (88%) and increased work efficiency (88%) topped the list for overall digital health adoption, which is a bit surprising considering that unproven clinical benefits and new workflows are frequently cited as drawbacks of virtual care.
- Interestingly, the top motivators for adopting “remote care tech” differed completely. 72% said that adopting tools like telehealth and RPM improved resource allocation for staff, 70% said it supported value-based care, and 66% said it supported health equity.
The AMA report is a useful roadmap for anyone looking to understand where physicians are in their digital health journeys, as well as the motivations driving them to adopt new technologies. There are also some hidden gems for those diligent enough to make down to the appendix on slide 24 of the report, which includes technology adoption curves and planned timelines for adopting different subsets of tools.