Editor's note: Kathleen Evans is senior vice president at research and consulting firm Healogix. Catie Barbieri is director at Healogix. Stacey Cowgill is senior director at Healogix.
COVID-19 has changed the way people all over the world work and live and physicians are certainly no exception. To understand the impact of COVID-19 on physicians in the U.S., Healogix fielded a quantitative survey in spring 2020. We reached 502 physicians across 10 specialties to gain their perspective on this unprecedented time and how it may be affecting their practices. For more detail on the sample included and the screening criteria, please see Figure 1.
Prior to COVID-19, 68% of physicians surveyed did not use any form of telehealth in an average week. When asked why, about half cited reasons such as less favorable insurance coverage/access, less favorable reimbursement and the perception that it is a less effective way of practicing medicine compared to in-person visits. Of those surveyed who did not regularly conduct telehealth visits before COVID-19 restrictions, 42% indicated they did not have the capability, with this percentage being particularly higher for physicians in hospital-based practices (56%) than in community-based practices (35%). In a separate line of questioning, hospital-based physicians were also significantly less likely to agree that nearly all their patients have access to the technology necessary to conduct telehealth visits either, as compared to community-based physicians.
In terms of physician specialty, psychiatrists appear to be the most telehealth-friendly specialty as they were more likely to be already utilizing telehealth before COVID-19 restrictions were implemented and reported the highest volume of telehealth visits since the restrictions began (84%). Prior to the pandemic, the vast majority of gastroenterologists (80%) and allergists/immunologists (84%) reported no...