Moving beyond telehealth to digitally-enabled care

April 29

Digitally-Enabled Care encompasses telehealth and other digital solutions

Telehealth represented less than 1% of the total health care volume in the United States before the COVID-19 pandemic, but that number is growing fast.

With more and more physicians turning to telehealth for the first time, digitally-enabled care solutions like video consultations and remote patient monitoring are becoming an essential part of our healthcare landscape.

Positive Physician Response To Using Telehealth

Physician response to using telehealth has been overwhelmingly positive.

  • 85% indicated that telehealth increased the timeliness of care.
  • 75% said telehealth allowed them to deliver high-quality care.
  • More than 70% were motivated to increase telehealth use.

That last statistic is particularly exciting to Meg Barron, the AMA's vice president of digital health innovations.

“Telehealth is here to stay,” she said. “It's not whether telehealth will be offered, but how best to offer telehealth services as we move toward what we're terming digitally-enabled care—which is not just hybrid care, but more so fully integrated in-person and virtual care based on clinical appropriateness.”

Patient Response to Telehealth is also positive

Physicians are not the only ones who responded positively to the use of telehealth and digitally-enabled care. Digitally-enabled care provides many benefits for patients and physicians alike. Patients find added value in having a digital opportunity to connect and interact with their care team.

“We know that both patients and physicians want telehealth to continue,” Barron said, “and also that they want the option and convenience and access of that virtual care modality to stay in place, in addition to in-person care.”

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Measuring the effectiveness of Digitally-Enabled Care

There has been some hesitancy moving forward with implementing digitally-enabled care, as many physicians want a more quantitative way to measure the value and effectiveness of these solutions.

In response to that need, the AMA developed a new framework to measure the comprehensive value of virtual care and digitally-enabled care. Standardizing a way to measure the value and effectiveness of these solutions and looking beyond a basic measurement of ROI, the AMA hopes to find a way to determine the total value of virtual and digitally-enabled care. The value for patients, physicians, caregiver satisfaction, patient access, and health equity must be considered.

Six value streams were analyzed and built to a “Return on Health” framework. These value streams establish ways digitally-enabled care can generate value. Each value stream has specific metrics that can be used to measure the value of digitally-enabled care programs.

The Six Value Streams of the Return On Health Framework

  • Clinical outcomes, quality, and safety.
  • Access to care.
  • Patient, family, and caregiver experience.
  • Clinician experience.
  • Financial and operational impact.
  • Health equity.

Physicians, health care organizations, payers, and policymakers can all use the framework to evaluate digitally-enabled care programs.

The AMA has also created the AMA STEPS Forward™ Innovation Academy, designed to help physicians, care teams, and health care leaders implement time-saving practice innovation strategies that promote joy in medicine, efficient use of technology, practice sustainability, and quality patient care.

This webinar series provides interactive instruction from experts who address practical, actionable strategies to transform the medical field.

Digitally-Enable Care goes beyond traditional in-person visits

By utilizing innovative digital technologies such as telehealth and remote monitoring devices, healthcare providers are able to offer patients a wide range of care options that go beyond traditional in-person visits. These digital tools enable providers to deliver more personalized care tailored to individual patient needs while also improving access and outcomes. For example, telehealth platforms allow patients to connect with physicians and other healthcare providers via video conferencing or remote patient monitoring devices can track vital signs and other important health metrics. By embracing these digital technologies, healthcare providers are able to improve the overall quality of care while also helping patients feel more involved in their own treatment and recovery. With the proliferation of digital health tools, there has never been a better time for healthcare providers to move beyond traditional care models and embrace digitally-enabled care.


digitally-enabled care, Remote Patient Monitoring, telehealth

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