A survey by the American College of Physicians finds that many doctors face challenges on several levels to integrate digital healthcare into their practices.

More internists are using telehealth in their medical practice, but just how much varies widely, says the American College of Physicians.

In a new survey of 255 internists, 51% of physicians said they use some form of telehealth, including for video doctor visits and consultations, remote patient monitoring, online coaching and using data from patient wearables, the survey says.

The use of telehealth by just over one-half of internists reflects the fact that physicians still find it challenging on several levels to integrate digital healthcare full-scale in the practice, the survey says.

“The barriers to telehealth adoption among physicians go beyond the issues of reimbursement, licensing, and regulatory barriers,” according to the survey. “Physicians find it challenging to integrate telehealth into their practices’ workflow—they also expressed concerns about patients having access to the needed information and the potential for medical errors.”

Specific findings include:

  • Digital consults were implemented by 33% of internists and used by 63% of physicians weekly.
  • Only 24% and 18%, respectively, of internists are conducting online doctor visits or remote patient monitoring.
  • 19% of internists conduct online doctor visits weekly and 24% perform remote patient monitoring.
  • Internists aren’t the chief decision maker about implementing or expanding telehealth and 34% of physicians say they aren’t aware of who is.

“Having the technology available doesn’t does not equate to adoption and usage,” the survey says.

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