Family physicians are interested in telehealth, few are using

A study recently published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine (JABFM) indicated that while interest is high, only 15 percent of family practice physicians were using telehealth at the time of the survey.  Of those who had used telehealth in the past year, nearly half had used it 5 times or fewer. Only 14 percent had used it 20 times or more.

Rural physicians were three times more likely to have used telehealth. Those who had used electronic medical records were more likely to use telehealth, while those in private practice were less likely to use it. The most frequent use was to refer patients to specialists (68%), while referral to mental health professionals was second at 28 percent.

For non-users more than half cited training and reimbursement as barriers to use. Though telehealth advocates are still working to improve reimbursement by payers, it may be that doctors are unaware of which services are currently reimbursed. Additionally, regional telehealth resource centers can provide training for physicians and guidance on liability issues, which was listed by 43 percent of non-users as a barrier.

*Chart created with data from study published in JABFM

For more information on training, reimbursement or liability issues, please contact HTRC at 877-643-HTRC.

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