Telehealth adoption hasn’t been a slam dunk so far, but progress continues. The advantages of remote patient monitoring, video house calls, clinical staff allocation, remote diagnosis, specialist access, patient convenience, and cost savings speak too loudly to be ignored in the face of burgeoning budgets, rampant chronic disease, and a health system that continues to rank embarrassingly low among industrialized nations.

We’ve written about telemedicine adoption by patients and clinical personnel, technologies including wearables and remote monitoring devices, and hybrid telehealth models to assist homebound patients.

American Well’s Telehealth Index 2019 Physician Survey polled 800 physicians in December 2018. The major takeaways from the survey include significant increases in telehealth adoption, physician willingness to see patients via telehealth, and physician reports of telehealth value.

Physician telehealth adoption increased by 340% since the previous survey. In 2018 22% of physicians reported using telehealth, a huge jump from 5% in 2015. Willingness to use telehealth rose from 57% in 2015 to 69% in 2018. Results speak louder than intentions and 93% of physicians who used telehealth stated it improves patient access to care, 77% said it contributes to more efficient uses of time for doctors and patients, and 71% reported telehealth helps reduce healthcare costs.

Major remaining challenges for telemedicine, include charging and reimbursement models, standardized systems and electronic health record integration, privacy, and security. Also, medical licensing is controlled at the state level, and while many state legislatures have passed laws that are more accepting of telemedicine, more needs to be done to allow doctors to treat patients across state borders. Telemedicine may not have reached its potentials, but it continues to make solid progress.