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Associations of clinical personnel characteristics and telemedicine practices: An analysis of the National Electronic Health Records Survey

Phillips, Gunnar
Millhollon, Robert
Elenwo, Covenant
Ford, Alicia Ito
Bray, Natasha
Hartwell, Micah
Background: The use of telemedicine strategies has been increasing in the US for more than a decade, with physicians taking advantage of this new tool to reach more patients. Determining the specific demographics of physicians using telemedicine most in their practice can inform recommendations for expanded telemedicine use among all physicians and aid in mitigating the need for physicians felt by urban and rural populations.
Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study of the 2021 National Electronic Health Records Survey to determine the relationship between physician characteristics and telemedicine practices. Differences between groups were measured via design-based chi-square tests.
Results: Compared to male physicians, female physicians were more likely to use telemedicine services (X2 = 8.0; P = .005). Compared to younger physicians, those over the age of 50 were less likely to use telemedicine services (X2 = 4.1; P = .04). Compared to primary care physicians, medical and surgical specialty physicians were less likely to use telemedicine services, with surgical specialty physicians being the least likely overall (X2 = 11.5; P < .001). We found no significant differences in telemedicine use based on degree (Osteopathic and Allopathic).
Conclusions: Our results showed a statistically significant difference between physician’s age, sex, and specialty on telemedicine use in practice during 2021. Efforts to increase telemedicine use among physicians may be needed to provide more accessible care to patients. Thus, by increasing physician education on the importance of telemedicine for modern patients, more physicians may decide to use telemedicine services in practice.