Between March 2019 and March 2020, there was a 154 percent increase in telehealth visits across the United States. A survey of more than 1,500 physicians and health professionals found that 84 percent engaged in interactive video patient visits in 2020 and nearly 40 percent averaged more than 20 virtual visits each week.**
While some of this increase is in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of telehealth services in 2021 and early 2022 remains strong. This increased demand means there are practices that need physicians to fill newly-created positions and physicians who wish to explore virtual-care practice opportunities.
Practices that offer at least a partial option for telehealth visits are quickly becoming more competitive among newer physicians. This has several implications from a recruitment standpoint.
When discussing the benefits of joining one practice over another, physicians may desire opportunities to practice part-time telehealth outside of their everyday practice as a way to increase their income and pay off their student loan debt more quickly.
Some physicians may even choose to practice 100 percent virtually, serving as many as four or five companies. These individuals have been referred to by Dr. Joseph Kvedar, president of the American Telemedicine Association, as the ‘Uber drivers of health care’ **
Telehealth certainly served an important role in pandemic planning and response and will continue to play a prominent role in increasing access to services for the foreseeable future. Considering the interests and needs of future physicians relative to telehealth practice will be essential in recruitment efforts.