Fabian Winiger on Telechaplaincy

From Fabian Winiger (University of Zurich) and our colleagues at Transforming Chaplaincy on telechaplaincy.io:

Telechaplaincy.io: A New Resource for Telechaplains

In 2016, the American Medical Association surveyed 1,300 physicians on their use of digital technologies in patient care. At that time, a small minority of 14% used virtual visits (“Tele-Visits”) to care for their patients. When the survey was repeated in 2019, this had climbed to 28%, and in the most recent survey, conducted in 2022, four-fifth of physicians claimed to do so. In the same period, the proportion of physicians who monitor their patients remotely also almost tripled to 30% (AMA, 2022).

What happened? Clearly, the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the familiarity, perceived relevance and thus enthusiasm for digital tools in the medical profession. This increase is in clear evidence across all age groups, genders and medical specialties. As the survey shows however, this trend began well before the Coronavirus hit American communities and continues as pandemic-related pressure on health systems is easing. While the effect of the pandemic is evident in the massive increase of virtual visits in the most recent survey, uptake of telehealth technology has steadily increased across all use cases.

Borrowing Everett Rogers (1995) classic model of the technology adoption lifecycle, the authors suggest that “Tele-Visits” in particular, once of interest to a small minority of early adopters, are now in a late stage of adoption. In an appendix to the study, the cohort of physicians adopting this technology are labelled either “early” or “late majorities”, and physicians engaging with this technology in coming years, “laggards”. In other words: if the sample surveyed by the AMA is representative, over the past seven years, digital health tools have become mainstream.

Fabian Winiger, international expert in human rights and religionRead the full post about telechaplaincy.io at Transforming Chaplaincy. Fabian Winiger is Senior Research Fellow at the University of Zurich.