AMA: Physician use of digital health tools has surged since 2016

In replicating a survey originally issued to 1,300 physicians in 2016, the American Medical Association found significant increases in the adoption, awareness and appreciation of digital health tools, per the 2019 survey's results.

Four key findings from the updated report:

1. The number of physicians who feel digital tools offer a "definite advantage" to healthcare grew from 31 percent in 2016 to 36 percent in 2019, representing a "small but significant" increase, per the report. Meanwhile, the percentage of those who saw no advantage to the technology shrank to just over 10 percent, with that group largely encompassing physicians aged 50 and older.

2. Overall, physicians' adoption of digital health tools majorly increased, regardless of gender, specialty and age differences. Those surveyed cited improved efficiency and patient safety as the top factors motivating them to implement digital tools.

3. The digital health solutions that saw the greatest growth in popularity among physicians between 2016 and 2019 were televisits — now used by 28 percent of respondents, double 2016's 14 percent — and remote monitoring for improved care — which increased from 13 percent to 22 percent.

4. While physicians' general familiarity with emerging technologies, including artificial and augmented intelligence, has reached new heights, adoption is still relatively low. For example, though 76 percent of those surveyed were aware of the use of augmented intelligence for clinical applications, only 6 percent reported using those solutions. Still, respondents showed interest in implementing advanced tech into their practices in the near future; one-third said they plan to do so within the next year.

View the full report here.

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