Internal medicine was the most in-demand telemedicine physician specialty in the U.S., according to multiple surveys performed in 2019. The research was performed on 27,000 physician job listings posted in 2018-19 in the top 50 most populated metropolitan areas in the country. Telemedicine specialties have rapidly grown in popularity within the last decade, thanks to medical technology improvement, with the number of physicians who have self-reported telemedicine as a skill increasing 20 percent each year, since 2015.
Below are the 10 most in-demand physician specialties for telemedicine
1. Internal medicine
4. Family medicine
6. Emergency medicine
9. Obstetrics and gynecology
In the year 2021, the use of telemedicine is now more important, than it ever has been, due to the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the world. More and more patients are choosing to manage their health remotely, rather than risk becoming infected in their local physician’s office. In fact, multiple studies have concluded that as high as 20% of medical visits in the year 2020, were virtual. If the upward trend of telemedicine continues as predicted, telemedicine could make up as much as $106 billion of medical services by 2023. Only 14% of patients had ever used telemedicine, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and once the pandemic hit, that number jumped to more than 20% of patients.
Peter Alperin, an internal medicine specialist located in San Francisco California claimed there were a few reasons why telemedicine popularity has spiked among patients. “It comes down to convenience. Broadly, we’ve seen drastic changes since the pandemic started. As technology has improved and become easy to use, the technology gap has started to close, with telemedicine, all you need is a smartphone. Most people these days have a smartphone. Once patients saw that the care they get from their physician was just as good as going into the office they became comfortable [with telemedicine]. Not every time you go to the doctor does the doctor do a full physical exam. The telehealth visit showed patients that what really mattered was the conversation and connecting with their physician.”
The specialties, that took advantage of telemedicine the most, were doctors who work with chronic illnesses. Endocrinology specialists used telemedicine the most often, followed by rheumatology, gastroenterology, nephrology, and cardiology specialties.