News Feature | December 15, 2015

Most Family Docs Don't Use Telehealth

Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

Telehealth Care

In a recent survey, only 15 percent of family doctors reported using telehealth services.

According to the results of a survey conducted by Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care, only 15 percent of family doctors are currently using telehealth services.

“The findings of this survey confirm that family physicians see promise in the ability of telehealth to improve access to primary care services. The findings also suggest that telehealth is on the cusp of advancing from a tool used occasionally to a tool implemented on a routine basis. However, use of telehealth services will not become widely adopted until health systems are reformed to address barriers,” the survey report states.

Health IT Interoperability reports one in four users reported using telehealth services for chronic disease management. More than 50 percent said they provided telehealth services between one and five times during the past year, while more than 23 percent said they used telehealth more than 20 times in that period. Nearly 50 percent of users said they provided real-time video consultations during the past year, while 55 percent said they had used telehealth for diagnosis or treatment.

According to iHealth Beat, when the physicians were asked how they used telehealth, leading responses included:

  • diagnosis or treatment, cited by 55 percent of telehealth users
  • chronic disease management, cited by 26 percent
  • patient follow-up, cited by 21 percent

Obstacles to using telehealth included

  • cost of equipment
  • lack of adequate reimbursement by insurers
  • lack of training
  • potential liability