Doctors are cool with telehealth. As long as they can stillget paid.

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A new report commissioned by Anthem Inc. and the AmericanAcademy of Family Physicians finds that nearly 90 percent of U.S.physicians would use telehealth as long as they are compensated forvideo consultations and the many other new tech-enabled means ofdoctor-patient interaction aimed at making health care moreefficient and accessible in the comingyears.

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The lack of established payment systems for telehealth, however,is a major barrier to its acceptance by medical professionals, thereport says.

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The survey of 1,557 family physicians found that roughly 15percent are already incorporating telehealth into theirpractices.

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It is particularly prolific in rural areas, where 29 percent ofphysicians reported telehealth use, compared to 11 percent in urbanareas.

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Read: What we've learned from telehealth's earlyadopters

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While internet access is more often a problem in rural America,the long distances between patients and doctors in somesparsely-populated areas creates a strong incentive for telehealthsolutions.

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In a finding that is even more intuitive, doctors who have beenpracticing for less than ten years (read: millennials) are alsomore likely to use telehealth.

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Read: Texas regulators threatentelemedicine

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Among those already using telehealth, the most common usesinclude diagnoses or treatment (55 percent), chronic diseasemanagement (26 percent), second opinions (20 percent), andemergency care (16 percent).

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Those who opt for telehealth and those who don’t are similar inone regard: They both see promise in the technology.

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Eighty-nine percent of those who already use telehealth say thatit improves access to care for patients, while 77 percent of thosewho don’t agreed.

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Both groups also agreed that patients would prefer to see adoctor face-to-face.

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That opinion was voiced by 83 percent of telehealth users and 94percent of non-users.

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“The survey results proved to us that family physicians areopen-minded and optimistic about the benefits of telehealth andthat they are willing to use this technology provided they receiveappropriate compensation,” said John Jesser, vice president ofprovider engagement for Anthem. “As telehealth gains momentum, moreoutcomes research and input on the quality, convenience and cost oftelemedicine from a patient’s perspective will be needed.”

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