Physicians demand more out of digital health tools before widespread adoption

September 28, 2016
Area(s) of Interest: Health Information Technology 

A new survey by the American Medical Association (AMA) found that while the majority of physicians are enthusiastic about digital health tools, the level of enthusiasm far exceeds current adoption rates. The survey of over 1,300 physicians covered a broad range of digital health tools, including telemedicine, mobile health, wearable devices, remote monitoring, mobile apps and others.

Eighty-five percent of physicians surveyed said that digital health tools can be advantageous to patient care, with the potential to improve work efficiency, increase patient safety and improve diagnostic ability. Physicians also said they are looking for technologies that integrate with those they are already using, including their electronic health records systems, and ones that don't take away time spent face-to-face with patients.

Forty-two percent of physicians surveyed have already adopted digital tools that help them communicate and share electronic clinical data for consults and referrals, with another 21 percent saying they plan to use such tools in the future.

Despite broad-based optimism about these tools, physicians said that in order to turn their enthusiasm into adoption, digital health tools must be beneficial to clinical practice and not a burden. When asked what requirements must be met by digital health tools of the future, the following "must haves" emerged:

  • Tools should be easy to use and improve clinical care.

  • Liability coverage, data privacy and work flow integration are essential to widespread adoption.

  • The use of digital health tools shouldn't detract from face-time with patients.

  • Physicians should be paid for time spent using the tools.

For more information on this survey, click here.


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