Report finds telehealth usage on the rise

September 16, 2020
Keith A. Reynolds

As much as 20 percent of all medical visits in 2020 will be conducted by telehealth.

The use of telehealth services has increased and will account for more than $29.3 billion of medical services as the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic rages on.

The data comes from the 2020 State of Telemedicine Report, which was compiled by Doximity and includes a patient survey on their attitudes toward telehealth, an analysis of doctor resumes online, and data from the company’s telemedicine feature set. They found that 20 percent of all medical visits will be conducted by telehealth.

“2020 has brought dramatic changes to the healthcare system, and the transition to telemedicine is one stark example,” Peter Alperin, MD, vice president of Doximity, says in a release accompanying the report. “The pandemic served to spur adoption with doctors and patients alike. And faster than anyone thought possible, moved a significant percentage of medical care online. We hope our research will help illuminate telemedicine’s evolving role in the medical landscape for national healthcare stakeholders.”

The report found that a large part of this increase can be attributed to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic with the number of residents reporting having at least a single telehealth visit grew by 57 percent, chronic illness patients’ use jumped even higher to 77 percent. Among both groups, 86 percent say they’d never had a telehealth appointment before.

Physicians are also starting to tout their telehealth skills on their resumes. For the past three years, the number of physicians listing telemedicine as a skill had increased 20 percent year-over-year, but that number nearly doubled in 2020 to a 38 percent increase, according to the report.

The report found that when analyzing physician job opportunity interest by gender women were 24 percent more interested in telemedicine jobs compared to men which is a significant increase over data from last year’s study which found only 10 percent more interest among women.

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