Top Utilizing Specialties of Telehealth Might Surprise You
Endocrinology is the physician specialty with the highest rate of telemedicine adoption, according to Doximity’s 2020 State of Telemedicine report.
Physician and patient embracing of Telemedicine endures to rise – and the advantages are clear-cut: ease-of-use, more flexibility, and lessening in cost of providing. In addition, advances in Telehealth technology could have the potential to address long-standing issues in health equity for underserved and minority communities, by increasing access to specialists for patients based in rural and underserved areas.
Researchers estimate more than 20% of all medical visits will be provided virtually with Telehealth in 2020, this signifies $29.3 billion of medical services. Likewise, studies from Doximity predict that up to $106 billion of current U.S. healthcare spend could be virtualized by 2023.
While debate still looms on the specifics of insurance reimbursement for virtual visits, healthcare stakeholders and lawmakers have already taken steps to ensure telehealth services continue once the pandemic ends.
In August, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unanimously approved $200 million in telehealth funding1 and within the same month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced proposed changes to expand telehealth permanently 2, strongly suggesting that telemedicine has come into its own.
Telehealth utilization reports are showing that growth is well beyond traditional users such as Behavioral Health providers or routine primary care virtual visits.
High Adoption of Telehealth Specialties
To better comprehend the developing role of Telehealth, Doximity researchers examined three crucial characteristics of its use as a clinical tool. First, they performed a thorough accounting of patient’s changing attitudes towards, and their experience with, Telehealth as a alternative for in-person visits to the doctor’s office. This evaluation was performed by conducting a survey of over 2,000 U.S. adults that was fielded in July, 2020. Doximity also updated their 2019 telemedicine study, with a year-over-year analysis of Doximity physician member profiles to determine whether there had been increase in physicians self-reporting telehealth as a skill. To recognize how doctors are using virtual care devices, they analyzed adoption data from their own telemedicine feature set, which has grown in the first half of 2020 to over 100,000 regular physician users. Lastly, they reviewed recent studies that examined the disparities in medicine, specifically, patient access to telemedicine technology.
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In summary, the study found high adoption of Telehealth among patients and physicians alike, with strong signals representing that this shift signifies a true change in how medicine is delivered in the U.S. Furthermore, they believe that demand for telemedicine service will remain to grow quickly, and care providers may even find themselves contending to provide the best telemedicine experience. Major hospital systems and private practices alike will need to implement safe, secure, and easy-to-use telehealth solutions to meet their patient expectations.