Tag: AMA

Digital Health Tools Gain Momentum Among Physicians

Adoption of digital health tools has grown significantly among all physicians since 2016 when the American Medical Association (AMA) first benchmarked the integration of emerging health technology into clinical practice. New AMA research released today shows more physicians than ever recognize digital health tools as an advantage for driving improved efficiency and safety in healthcare.

“The rise of the digital-native physician will have a profound impact on healthcare and patient outcomes, and will place digital health technologies under pressure to perform according to higher expectations,” said AMA board chair Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, M.D., M.P.H. “The AMA survey provides deep insight into the emerging requirements that physicians expect from digital technologies and sets an industry guidepost for understanding what a growing number of physicians require to adopt new technology.”

The AMA Digital Health Research investigates shifts in physician adoption of digital health tools during the last three years, along with current attitudes and expectations among physicians. The research examines seven categories of digital health tools that engage patients for clinical purposes, interpret and use clinical data, and manage outcomes and other measures of care quality. According to the AMA survey, adoption trends in the following seven categories are helping to propel the digital transformation of healthcare.

Tele-visits/virtual visits – Physician adoption doubled from 14% in 2016 to 28% in 2019, the largest growth among the digital health tool categories. This category includes audio/video connections used to see patients remotely.

Remote monitoring and management for improved care – Physician adoption jumped from 13% in 2016 to 22% in 2019. This category includes mobile applications and devices for use by chronic disease patients for daily measurement of vital signs, such as weight, blood pressure, blood glucose, etc. Readings are visible to patients and transmitted to the physician’s office. Alerts are generated as appropriate for missing or out of range readings.

Remote monitoring for efficiency – Physician adoption modestly grew from 12% in 2016 to 16% in 2019. This category includes smart versions of common clinical devices such as thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, and scales that automatically enter readings in the patient medical record.

Clinical decision support – Physician adoption climbed from 28% in 2016 to 37% in 2019. This category includes modules used in conjunction with the EHR, or mobile applications integrated with an EHR, that highlight potentially significant changes in patient data, such as weight gain/loss, change in blood chemistry, etc.

Patient engagement – Physician adoption rose from 26% in 2016 to 32% in 2019. This category includes solutions to promote patient wellness and active participation in their care for chronic diseases, such as adherence to treatment regimens.

Point of care/workflow enhancement – Physician adoption modestly increased from 42% in 2016 to 47% in 2019. This category includes communication and sharing of electronic clinical data to consult with specialists, make referrals and/or transitions of care.

Consumer access to clinical data – Physician adoption rose from 53% in 2016 to 58% in 2019, the highest adoption rate among the digital health tool categories. This category includes secure access allowing patients to view clinical information such as routine lab results, receive appointment reminders and treatment prompts, and to ask for prescription refills, appointments and to speak with their physician.

While all digital health tools have seen increases in physician adoption since 2016, the biggest growth in adoption was among digital tools in the categories of tele-visits/virtual visits and remote monitoring for improved patient care. Driving this adoption is a significant increase in the importance physicians place in providing remote care to patients. To speed implementation of remote patient monitoring, the AMA’s Digital Health Implementation Playbook packages the key steps, best practices and resources to help physicians extend care beyond the exam room.

Improved efficiency and increased patient safety remain the most important factors driving physician interest in digital health tools, although addressing patient adherence, convenience and physician burnout have increased in importance as factors driving physician interest.

Liability coverage remains the most important requirement for physician adoption of digital health tools, and this requirement has significantly increased in importance during the last three years. Electronic medical record (EHR) integration and data privacy rounded out the three most important physician requirements for digital health tools. There was a notable increase in the importance of peer review validation as a physician requirement for digital health tools.

For the first time, the AMA research surveyed physicians about their awareness and current usage of emerging technologies, such as augmented intelligence, blockchain and precision medicine. While levels of awareness greatly exceed adoption rates, more than one-third of physicians intended to adopt emerging technologies within the year. Interest is highest for use with chronic care patients.

The AMA is dedicated to shaping a future when digital health tools are evidence based, validated, interoperable, and actionable. Through its ongoing work, the AMA is committed to ensuring physicians play a greater role in leading trustworthy and equitable tech-enabled innovation that enhances patient care, shapes a better healthcare system, and improves the health of the nation. Through our research, collaborations, advocacy and leadership, the AMA is working to make the patient?physician relationship more valued than paperwork, preventive care the focus of the future, technology an asset and not a burden, and physician burnout a thing of the past.
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AMA: Extension Needed On Comment Period To Proposed Interoperability/Info Blocking Rules

Image result for american medical association logoThe American Medical Association delivered the following comment letter to ONC National Coordinator Donald Rucker, MD and CMS Administrator Seema Verma urging a 30-day extension to the comment periods for the two proposed federal rules regarding interoperability and information blocking. The letter is posted in its entirety below:

Dear Dr. Rucker and Administrator Verma:

On behalf of the physician and medical student members of the American Medical Association (AMA), I want to express my appreciation for the detail and thought put into your proposed rules, 21st Century Cures Act: Interoperability, Information Blocking, and the ONC Health IT Certification Program and Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Interoperability and Patient Access for Medicare Advantage Organization and Medicaid Managed Care Plans, State Medicaid Agencies, CHIP Agencies and CHIP Managed Care Entities, Issuers of Qualified Health Plans in the Federally-facilitated Exchanges and Health Care Providers.

The 21st Century Cures Act includes many provisions that, through prudent regulation, will advance patients’ and physicians’ access to medical information. I recognize and appreciate the desire for swift rulemaking. However, such rapid change in health care policy, technology, and business practices may lead to unintended consequences for patient privacy and physician burden. Moreover, the proposed rules are interwoven, complex in nature, and include multiple detailed requests for information. To ensure that the rules are as successful as possible in meeting your goals, it is vital that stakeholders be given adequate time to provide comprehensive, thoughtful, and detailed comments. Expediency should not take precedence over deliberation as we confront a true paradigm shift in health care. I therefore urge that the comment periods for both rules be extended by at least 30 days. I appreciate your consideration and ongoing collaboration.

Thank you for considering our request. If you have any questions or care to discuss further, please feel free to reach out to Margaret Garikes, vice president of federal affairs, at 202-789-7409 or margaret.garikes@ama-assn.org.


James Madara, MD

AMA Calls for Penalties to be Removed from the Meaningful Use Program

In a new policy approved at the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Interim Meeting, physicians continued to call for penalties to be halted in the meaningful use program. Physicians feel that full interoperability, which is not widely available today, is necessary to achieve the goals of electronic health records (EHRs) — to facilitate coordination, increase efficiency and help improve the quality of care.

The new policy comes on the heels of the recent release of new attestation numbers showing only 2 percent of physicians have demonstrated Stage 2 meaningful use. In response to the new figure, the AMA joined with other healthcare leaders to urge policymakers to take immediate action to fix the meaningful use program by adding more flexibility and shortening the reporting period to help physicians avoid penalties.

“The AMA has been calling for policymakers to refocus the meaningful use program on interoperability for quite some time,” said AMA president-elect Steven J. Stack, M.D. “The whole point of the meaningful use incentive program was to allow for the secure exchange of information across settings and providers and right now that type of sharing and coordination is not happening on a wide scale for reasons outside physicians’ control. Physicians want to improve the quality of care and usable, interoperable electronic health records are a pathway to achieving that goal.”

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