“Telemedicine is here to stay,” said Dr. Rahul Sharma, professor and chair of emergency medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and co-author of a commentary on the results. “Health care organizations really need to think about the next steps regarding the future of virtual care, such as how we integrate it into our systems, and how to make sure we are meeting the needs of both our clinicians and our patients.”
The survey, conducted in March, polled members of NEJM’s Catalyst Insight Council who are clinicians, clinical leaders and executives in organizations that deliver care. The survey received 984 responses from around the world, 609 from the United States. Dr. Sharma, who is also emergency physician-in-chief at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and executive director of the Center for Virtual Care at Weill Cornell Medicine, helped formulate the questions with his co-author Dr. Judd E. Hollander, senior vice president of health care delivery innovation at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.
Of U.S. respondents, 71 percent reported that telemedicine has improved patient health, while a similar proportion said it provides at least moderate quality specialty or mental health care. For primary care, that share was 81 percent. When responses across all countries are included, the results differ only slightly from those of U.S. respondents.