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BMC Health Serv Res ; 23(1): 292, 2023 Mar 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2302202


BACKGROUND: Telemedicine is already in use in daily practice, but appropriate reimbursement and physician payment is falling behind in many countries. One reason is the limited availability of research on the matter. This research therefore examined physicians' views on the optimal use and payment modalities for telemedicine. METHODS: Sixty-one semi-structured interviews were conducted with physicians from 19 medical disciplines. Interviews were encoded using thematic analysis. RESULTS: Telephone and video televisits tend not to be used as a first patient contact, except for triage of patients in urgency situations. Several minimum required modalities for the payment system of televisits and telemonitoring were identified. For televisits these were: (i) remuneration of both telephone- and videovisits to increase healthcare equity, (ii) little or no differentiation between videovisit and in-person visit fee to make videovisits financially attractive and sustainable for physicians, (iii) differentiation of televisit fee per medical discipline, and (iv) quality requirements such as mandatory reporting in the patient's medical file. The identified minimum required modalities for telemonitoring were: (i) an alternative payment scheme than fee-for-service, (ii) remunerating not only physicians but also other involved health professionals, (iii) designating and remunerating a coordinator, and (iv) distinguishing sporadic vs. continuously follow-up. CONCLUSIONS: This research investigated the telemedicine usage behavior of physicians. Moreover, several minimum required modalities were identified for a physician-supported payment system of telemedicine, as these innovations necessitate challenging and innovation of the healthcare payment systems as well.

Physicians , Telemedicine , Humans , Fee-for-Service Plans