Here’s a welcome diagnosis: Nearly 9 in 10 physicians see an advantage in using digital health tools, according to new research from the American Medical Association. Released in February, the study also found increased use of seven tools or areas compared to findings of a prior survey conducted in 2016.

“The rise of the digital-native physician will have a profound impact on health care and patient outcomes and will place digital health technologies under pressure to perform according to higher expectations,” Dr. Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, board chair of the AMA, said in a statement.

The most notable boost was seen in telehealth, with physician adoption doubling from 14 percent in 2016 to 28 percent in 2019. Modest gains were seen in the use of clinical decision support (such as modules or applications working with electronic health records) and collaboration tools for teams to communicate and share data.

Fifty-eight percent of doctors now connect electronically with patients — sending lab results or treatment prompts, for example — and that has risen 5 percentage points since 2016. The top two reasons cited for tech implementation were efficiency and safety, but addressing burnout had the biggest jump between surveys.

Younger female doctors in practice for less than a decade are the likeliest to use the most digital tools, the AMA found. But a desire to evolve spans demographics: More than one-third of all physicians plan to adopt one or more of the surveyed technologies this year.

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