The doctor will see you (on the computer) now: it’s time for Telehealth


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During the pandemic, the old phrase from the waiting room “the doctor will see you now” has taken on a new meaning. So has the waiting room. Our kitchen table or living room sofa is where many people have been working lately, and includes visits to the doctor. New research from Falk College at Syracuse University indicates that this method of healthcare will continue even after reducing (hopefully) COVID numbers.

“I was surprised by the results,” said the study’s lead author, Bhavneet Walia, an assistant professor of public health at Syracuse University. “Initially I thought that because of the challenges of telehealth, doctors would not be in favor of continuing post-pandemic. It turns out that yes. But make no mistake, there are challenges.” Among them is the technology itself. Internet connectivity along with software and hardware require money and training. And that’s just next to it (A future study will probe patients’ relationships with telehealth). “We saw that physician training increased during our survey period,” which Walia said was from July to September 2020. The results of the study can be found at JMIR Human factors.

In order to conduct the survey, Walia collaborated with two doctors from Syracuse Veterans Administration Hospital. Among them, they created a series of questions that could provide in-depth answers, given a doctor’s limited time. A total of 148 doctors responded from across the United States, and according to Walia, many were in favor of continuing telehealth. “In the United States we talk about this iron triangle of health care that is quality, access and cost. The results of this survey show that doctors who practice internal medicine are in favor, more than 40%, say they would continue to telehealth. That’s great in terms of getting the iron triangle. “

But there are concerns, mostly focused on the technology itself, and not just among doctors who have to buy and use the software. Public health officials are concerned about the possibility of market concentration involving companies producing the technology.

Market concentration is a result in which a market is dominated by a small number of firms.

“As consumers we want competition that reduces price and increases quality,” Walia said. “On the one hand, from this survey I believe that telehealth can increase access. On the other hand, as a health economist, I am concerned that market concentration will reduce access. As a researcher, my goal is to understand the problem and anticipate future problems.This could be one.The goal of moving forward is to increase access and market concentration can make things work backwards. We cannot ignore this, if that will be the next great fact. Let’s be sure, com , which we do not allow concentration “.

So it looks like the 21st century version of home calling, talking to your GP from the comfort of your home, will continue. Professor Walia wants to be sure that he continues to think about the consumer of health services.

AMA promotes widespread adoption of telehealth

More information:
Bhavneet Walia et al, The Perspective of U.S. Physicians on Sudden Change in Telehealth: A Study of the Medical Survey (Prepress), JMIR Human factors (2021). DOI: 10.2196 / 26336

Citation: The doctor will see you (on the computer) now: the time has come for Telehealth (2021, May 20), retrieved May 20, 2021 at -telehealth.html

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