Topics
More on Patient Engagement

Doctors embrace digital tools, want new tech to help with billing, AMA survey finds

Primary care providers and physicians in large, complex practices log the most digital usage and are most enthusiastic about new technologies.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

While some physicians are already using electronic health records and digital data access technology for consumers, many doctors would like more tools linked to their EHR that allow for better billing and reimbursement.

According to the new American Medical Association survey, primary care providers and physicians in large, complex practices log the most digital usage and are most enthusiastic about new technologies.

Overall, physicians want tools that improve efficiency and patient safety, create a better physician-patient relationship and reduce their own level of burnout, the survey found.

To conduct the survey, AMA contracted with custom research company TNS to administer a 15-minute online survey in which about 1,300 physicians gave their input.

[Also: Fully digital hospitals can improve efficiency, customer service, hospital CEO says]

The bulk of those physicians, 85 percent, said there was at least some potential for digital tools to improve patient care; 31 percent said there was a "definite" potential. Those numbers were consistent across all subcategories, including age, speciality and ownership status;.AMA members and physicians younger than 40 years old were slightly more inclined to view digital tools favorably as well.

The broadest appeal of digital tools was in improving efficiency, patient safety and diagnostic ability. Using tools to reduce burnout and increase medication adherence for patients was more appealing to the younger doctors and among women physicians. Interest in digital solutions dropped off when they were geared toward doing something different with the practice -- seeing more patients, for instance, or uncovering a new revenue stream.

[Also: Doctor: Patient portals, mobile apps can improve wellness, boost bottom line]

Physicians had a few requirements when it came to adopting digital solutions. Malpractice coverage, data privacy and workflow integration were essential, according to the AMA. Physicians also felt they should be reimbursed for the time spent using the technology. Most agreed that any tools should be easy to use and clinically effective.

Twitter: @JELagasse