5 insights into how doctors view and use digital health tools

Doctors are seeing the benefits of digital health tools more than ever.

About nine in 10 physicians now believe digital health tools are an asset to patient care, according to AMA Digital Health Research (PDF), which examines physician motivations and key requirements for adopting digital health tools.

The AMA surveyed 1,300 physicians this year and compared their responses to the answers given to the questions in 2016 and 2019. This latest survey marks the first time the questions have been asked since the COVID-19 pandemic created an explosion in the use of digital healthcare, especially telemedicine.

“The AMA study illustrates the importance physicians place on validated digital health tools that improve health while streamlining the technological and administrative burdens faced every day in medicine. These technologies must also be designed and implemented in ways that improve health equity,” said AMA President Jack Resneck Jr., Ph.D.

Dive deep into the findings of the 2022 AMA Digital Health Study in a webinar featuring AMA subject matter experts, October 19, 10am CDT. Register now.

In the meantime, here are five key trends revealed in the AMA survey.

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  • 93% of physicians now believe that digital health tools are an asset to patient care, up from 85% who felt this way in 2016.
  • Doctors of all ages and specialties are seeing an increase in the proportion who believe there are benefits to using digital tools.
  • The growth is greatest among people over 50 years of age. In 2016, 80% in this age group saw some or some benefit to digital health tools; 90% did so in 2022.
  • Today, a doctor uses an average of 3.8 digital tools. That’s up from 2.2 tools used in 2016.
  • The increase was similar regardless of the physician’s gender, specialty, years of practice, or age.
  • Improved clinical outcomes and operational efficiency were the key drivers for more physicians adopting digital tools.
  • Using a digital tool to reduce stress and burnout is gaining importance as a key driver of digital tool adoption, with 76% of respondents saying it’s important in 2022, up from 66% who said so in 2016.
  • 80% of doctors used televised visits in 2022, up from just 14% in 2016 and nearly triple what was reported in 2019.
  • 30% of physicians report using remote monitoring devices in 2022, an increase from 12% in 2016 and nearly double the use in 2019.
  • Physicians in 2022 reported that providing remote patient care was an important motivator for adopting digital tools.

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  • When asked what digital solutions they are excited about, 57% of physicians in 2022 said they are excited about televised visits. This is an increase from 52% who felt this way in 2019.
  • Over the past three years, enthusiasm for remote monitoring and management for improved care, clinical decision support, patient engagement, and several other tools has stagnated.
  • Enthusiasm has waned for consumer access to clinical data, with 37% of physicians saying they were enthusiastic about it in 2022, compared to 41% who felt this way in 2019.

Telehealth support is an essential component of the AMA’s recovery plan for America’s physicians.

Telehealth is critical to the future of health care, which is why the AMA continues to lead the charge to aggressively expand telehealth policy, research, and resources to ensure physician practice sustainability and equitable reimbursement.

The AMA has a number of digital health initiatives and resources, including:

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