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Reuters Health: Telemedicine surging in US but still uncommon

By Lisa Rapaport

Although telemedicine visits have increased sharply in the U.S. in recent years, the vast majority of American adults still receive care from doctors in person rather than via remote technology, a new study suggests.

The goal of telemedicine is to help improve access to specialty care, particularly in rural, underserved areas of the country, researchers note in JAMA. 

Overall, annual telemedicine visits increased from 206 visits in 2005, or less than one per 1,000 people in the study, to more than 202,000 visits in 2017, or more than seven per 1,000. Most of this increase happened over the last few years of the study, with an average annual compound growth rate of 52 percent from 2005 to 2014 and an annual average compound growth rate of 261 percent from 2015 to 2017.

“If the growth rates we are observing continue, in a decade telemedicine will be seen as quite common,” said lead study author Dr. Michael Barnett of the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

At this point, telemedicine is still rare. 

Patients seen by telemedicine are generally satisfied with their care, and telemedicine will continue to become more common as it becomes easier for clinicians to be paid for this type of exam, said Dr. Jay Portnoy of Children’s Mercy Kansas City and the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine.


Read the full story via Reuters Health

Learn more about Telemedicine at Children's Mercy