MONDAY, Sept. 10, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Physicians and consumers agree on the benefits of virtual care, but physician adoption of virtual care technologies is low, according to a report on the Deloitte 2018 Survey of U.S. Physicians.

The survey was completed by 624 U.S. primary care and specialty physicians. It assessed current use of and future plans for virtual care technologies as well as their benefits and challenges and the potential uses of specific technologies.

According to the survey, consumers and physicians agree on the benefit of virtual care. Convenience and access are cited as important benefits by consumers (64 percent), while the top three benefits for physicians are improved patient access to care, improved patient satisfaction, and staying connected with patients and caregivers (66, 52, and 45 percent, respectively). While only 23 percent of consumers have had video visits, 57 percent of nonusers are willing to try them in the future. In contrast, only 14 percent of physicians have video visit capability today and 18 percent plan to add this capability within the next two years. Contributing factors to slow adoption include lack of reimbursement, complex licensing requirements, and the high cost of technologies; reliability and security are also issues.

“Our view is that with the changing reimbursement models, growing consumer demand, and advances in digital technologies, virtual care is a must-have for health systems, and they will now need to help physicians adopt virtual care capabilities,” the authors write.

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