News Feature | October 3, 2016

Physicians Optimistic About Digital Health Innovation

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Patients Like Doctors Who email

Doctors have high expectations for integrating health technology into clinical practice.

Enthusiasm and optimism abound among physicians regarding the “game-changing potential” digital health can provide to benefit patient care, according to the results of an American Medical Association (AMA) survey. Broad-based optimism was revealed across physicians of all age groups, practice settings, and tenures, and while the level of enthusiasm is greater than current adoption rates the survey found respondents anticipate using more digital health tools in the near future.

The survey of 1,300 physicians was created by the AMA and conducted by research agency Kantar TNS in order to determine physician motivations, current usage, and future expectations for integrating digital health tools into medical practices. The Digital Health Study: Physicians’ Motivations and Requirements For Adopting Digital Clinical Tools survey covered a broad range of digital health tools, including telemedicine and telehealth, mobile health, wearables, remote monitoring, mobile health apps, and more.

The results demonstrated 85 percent of respondents view digital health solutions as advantageous to patient care, and physicians are also optimistic regarding the potential of digital health for improving practice efficiencies, patient safety, diagnostic ability, and for reducing doctor burnout. And participants anticipate rapid adoption with minimal disruption from the digital tools.

When it comes to the most important elements of digital health tools, liability coverage, data privacy, and workflow integration with EHR systems were at the top of the list. Respondents also said they want tools that are easy to use and have proven to be effective.

The survey also found physicians are eager to be part of the decision making process, but only owners expect to be responsible; physicians want extended EHR capabilities, but look to practice leaders to make buying decisions; and physicians are less interested in using digital tech to provide new streams of revenue or to increase the volume of patients they see.

“The AMA is dedicated to shaping a future when digital health tools are evidence based, validated, interoperable, and actionable,” stated Steven J. Stack, M.D., immediate past president of the AMA. “To make this prospect a reality in the near-term, the AMA is ensuring that physicians play a greater role in leading digital health innovations that expand the bounds of science, enhance patient care, shape a better healthcare system, and improve the health of the nation.”