Doctor popping out of phone screen Not only are doctors interested in the potential oftechnology to improve patient access to care and outcomes, they'realso interested in it on their own behalf. (Photo:Shutterstock)

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Barriers may still exist to the use of telehealth in medical practices, but that couldchange—and one reason it could change drastically is burnout.

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Not yours—your doctor's.

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According to a survey from the American Collegeof Physicians, there are still obstacles to the implementation oftelehealth by practices with internal medicine physicians andsubspecialists. The most common: reimbursement, licensing, andregulatory barriers. And less common, but stillimportant: not only are some physicians find it difficult tointegrate the service into their day, they alsoare worried that patients may lack access to the necessarytechnology.

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Related: 2019: The year of telehealth?

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In fact, just because a practice has the technology doesn't meanit's actually used—or used to its full potential. Technology forremote care management is less available, at 24 percent, thanwhat's needed for e-consults (33 percent of practices have it), asis the tech for video visits (just 18 percent have it). But thosewith the technology for those e-consults have a high usage rate; 63percent use it weekly.

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And among those with the technology, only 19 percent use videovisits each week, while 50 percent do use remote care managementeach week.

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Lots of doctors would like to learn more about availabletechnology solutions, according to the study, with 55 percent ofthose with no technologies implemented and 51 percent of those withsome implementations expressing interest.

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But here's where it gets interesting: a new survey from American Well reveals that notonly are doctors interested in the potential of technology toimprove patient access to care, improve patient outcomes andattract and retain patients, they're also interested in it on theirown behalf. Specialists the most willing to practice viatelehealth, in particular are also among the most burnt out. (Theyare also among the least likely to have used it.)

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The top specialties willing to practice via telehealth, says thereport, include urology, emergency medicine, infectious disease,psychiatry, pediatrics, oncology and neurology.

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The good news about telehealth adoption, according to thesurvey, is that it's being adopted “much faster than … EHRs at asimilar stage of market development,” Dr. Sylvia Romm, vicepresident of clinical transformation at American Well, says in astatement.

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Romm adds, “Physicians' increased willingness to see patientsover video, in addition to the increasing physician shortage, highburnout rates and a more favorable reimbursement landscape, signalsa boom in virtual visits over the next several years.”

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Marlene Satter

Marlene Y. Satter has worked in and written about the financial industry for decades.