Digital Communication Between Physicians and Patients Increasing

In a  recent study by Manhattan Research, 40% of physicians said that the use of digital communication technologies– including patient portals, emailing and texting with patients, and using mobile health-monitoring apps–has improved patient outcomes. Jonathan Linkous, chief executive officer of the American Telemedicine Association, told Medscape Medical News (login required) that “I think we’ve turned a corner in the last year or 2 among providers. They’re certainly not all lined up with telemedicine. But they’re realizing the benefits, and costs are significantly reduced for a lot of this technology.” According to the research, 22% of physicians are texting their patients while a fourth are communicating with patients through online portals. More than one in five physicians reported they have monitored patients remotely, but video consultation has not yet caught on; fewer than 10% said they had done that. James Avallone, director of physician research for Manhattan Research, said, “As we move to an outcomes-based model of healthcare provision in the U.S., remote monitoring and telehealth are going to drive an extension of the point of care.” However, monetizing fees from nonvisit care delivered through online technologies remains a major hurdle.

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