Use of Telemedicine among Physicians and Development of Telemedicine Apps

Prior to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, adoption of telemedicine was slow and its usage was rare. However, during the pandemic, usage of telemedicine increased dramatically with physicians using a number of telemedicine tools to deliver health services, while limiting patients’ exposure to the virus. Wide use of telemedicine may impact various aspects of health care delivery such as quality, cost, and access to care. Thus, a detailed understanding about the usage of telemedicine is vital to develop better policies associated with health care delivery. In this data brief, we document rates of officebased physicians’ use of telemedicine, the types of telemedicine tools used, the characteristics of physicians using telemedicine, and physicians’ overall satisfaction with telemedicine. Additionally, we report the percent of physicians who plan to continue using telemedicine beyond the pandemic and usage rates by physicians’ EHR technology.

  • While only 15 percent of office-based physicians used any form of telemedicine in 2018- 2019, its usage increased six times to 87 percent in 2021.
  • Self-employed physicians were less likely to use telemedicine by at least 17 percentage points than larger practices (with more than 3 physicians).
  • Physicians participating in payment models (patient centered medical home (PCMD, accountable care organizations (ACOs), or Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)) were significantly more likely to use telemedicine than non-participants.
  • Over 70 percent of physicians reported patients’ difficulty using telemedicine tools as the most common barrier to using telemedicine.
  • A majority of physicians (62 percent) were fully or somewhat satisfied with their use of telemedicine.

Use of Telemedicine among Office-Based Physicians, 2021 Use of Telemedicine among Physicians and Development of Telemedicine Apps