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AAP is Mostly Positive on Telemedicine

June 29, 2015
by Gabriel Perna
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The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released its official policy on telemedicine, recommending certain uses of the technology and disavowing others for fragmenting care.

The AAP’s statement on telemedicine advocates that the barriers —such as restrictive payment policies from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and licensures issues from various states—should be reduced to increase usage of the technology. They say that the technology has a lot of potential, specifically in delivering care to children living in underserved communities.

 The AAP says that physicians delivering care through telemedicine should receive equitable payment to practitioners delivering in-person care. They also say that private and public payers should develop funding mechanisms to expand telemedicine efforts. They say that state and local governments should develop appropriate licensing structures to support the practice of telemedicine across jurisdictions.

On the other side, AAP does say that use of telemedicine should be delivered within the context of a medical home, to ensure continuity and efficiency of care. They say that when virtual care occurs outside the medical home, it leads to lower quality and risks the patient’s safety. In this regard, it specifically mentions the use of telemedicine by virtual health care providers, such as those linked to retail-based clinics, entrepreneurs, or insurers who are providing care via smart phone, laptop, or video-consult kiosk without a previous physician-patient relationship.

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