Most pediatricians believe telehealth is here to stay

An independent study commissioned by a pediatric virtual care company found that 92% of pediatricians and clinicians believe that telemedicine will remain part of health practices in the future.  

Virtually all of the 787 pediatricians and clinicians who responded to the an online survey reported currently using a telemedicine platform, with 96% saying they offered telemedicine during regular business hours.   

“When it comes to virtual care, the focus should remain centered on ensuring technology is used to foster relationships and enhance the connection of patients with the care they trust,” said Dr. Mick Connors, co-founder and CEO of Anytime Pediatrics, which commissioned the study.   

WHY IT MATTERS  

Although pediatric patients may face unique hurdles with regard to telehealth – including potential trouble with connecting with clinicians via video – more than 60% of respondents said that patients find it easy to use.  

In addition, respondents referenced patient demand as the number-one factor driving the increased use of telemedicine, with insurance coverage acceptance and revenue potential also cited.  

Some of the most common use cases are behavioral or mental health; visits for urgent care services such as cold, rashes, or pinkeye; medication refills; and chronic condition check-ins.  

More than half of patients use a mobile app on their smartphone for telemedicine visits.   

Clinicians say that in the future, they’re most likely to seek electronic health record integration, connectivity, price and flexible workflows from telemedicine platforms.

They also say they’d love to see peripheral device integrations, translation services during visits, documentation and platform availability in multiple languages. And respondents say audio-visual quality, ease of use and connectivity, flexible workflows and live support are essential technical components that affect both patients and practitioners.  

The study was implemented by Chicago-based consulting firm Health Mavens.   

“Based on our findings, telehealth will continue to expand as clinicians embrace its advantages and as patients come to expect it,” said Marian Temesvary, Health Mavens chief strategy officer.  

THE LARGER TREND

Many health systems have used virtual care in a variety of ways to the benefit of young patients

But lawmakers worry the promise of telehealth may not be fully realized for children, particularly those enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program.  

This past October, U.S. Reps Lisa Blunt Rochester, D-Delaware, and Dr. Michael C. Burgess, R-Texas, introduced the Telehealth Improvement for Kids’ Essential Services, or TIKES, Act of 2020. 

The legislation, which stalled in committee, would have required the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to issue guidance to states about how to increase access to telehealth under Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.  

ON THE RECORD  

“While the pandemic has accelerated the growth of telemedicine, it is proving to be an essential connection that is here to stay,” said Temesvary.

 

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Email: kjercich@himss.org
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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