AMA Report: Telehealth Use Spiked Between 2018 and 2020

The percentage of physicians using telehealth skyrocketed during a two-year period that covered the first several months of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new American Medical Association report.

Among the major findings in the report, between 2018 and 2020:

  • The percentage of physicians who worked in a practice that used telehealth jumped from 25.1% to 79%.
  • The share of physicians in a practice that used videoconferencing increased from 14.3% to 70.3%.
  • The number of physician respondents who used telehealth to diagnose or treat patients increased from 15.6% to 58%.
  • Those who used telehealth to manage patients with chronic disease jumped from 9.9% to 59.2%.
  • In 2020, 50.4% of respondents used telehealth to care for patients with acute disease (data for 2018 weren’t available).

The study compared data from AMA’s Physician Practice Benchmark Survey, conducted biennially between early September and mid-October.

“The practices of psychiatrists had among the highest rates of using telehealth to diagnose or treat patients (82.7%), manage the care of patients with chronic disease (83.3%), and treat patients with acute disease (72.7%),” the research paper said. “Physicians in family/general practice and pediatricians also had relatively high rates of using telehealth to diagnose or treat patients (around 72%) and to treat patients with acute disease (73.2% and 70.0%).”

Many Texas physicians had to quickly pivot to telehealth during the early days of the pandemic when lockdowns were in place. This provided an opportunity for physicians and patients to acclimate to a care delivery model they may not have experienced before.

The Texas Medical Association has developed and curated numerous telemedicine resources to assist physicians at every stage of use. These resources include how to get started, shopping for a telemedicine platform, telemedicine policies and procedures, a white paper on Texas telemedicine laws and regulations, and much more.

Questions about telemedicine and other office technologies may be directed to TMA’s Health Information Technology Department by calling (800) 880-5720 or by email.

Last Updated On

October 27, 2021

Originally Published On

October 20, 2021

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