Persistent misconceptions have kept physicians wary of telemedicine, even in the face of its growing popularity among patients and payers, according to an article in Medical Economics.
Patient preferences have played a major role in driving adoption of telemedicine technologies, particularly as a way of combating their frustration with the waiting time involved in the average office visit, the article said. Primary care practices looking to combat the growing competitive threat presented by urgent care clinics have begun to see an opportunity in telemedicine technology, according to previous reporting by FiercePracticeManagement.
Medical Economics identified the prominent misconceptions that hold some doctors back:
- High costs associated with specialized technology don't necessarily come into play in most implementations, according to the article. Patients mostly want a simple communication channel through which to schedule appointments and get basic information, functions that Medical Economics said are amply covered by existing technology.
- Security is a must with any technology, but, as the article pointed out, secure communications don't represent new ground in an era where people log into their bank accounts with a smart phone, and practices have multiple options available when it comes to HIPAA-compliant tools.
- Reimbursement options, while a matter of continuing debate, have improved steadily, especially as state and federal legislators see the value of such services throughout the system, per the article.
- Telemedicine fits more efficiently into current physician workflows than many think, according to Medical Economics. In particular, virtual communication offers a way to deal with patients who don't need to take up time and resources with a physical visit in order to deal with their issues, saving time for patients and physicians alike.
To learn more:
- read the article