The American Medical Association (AMA) has adopted an official policy on telemedicine, saying that it's important for a valid patient-physician relationship to be established before the technology is used in practice.
The AMA, which doled out its telemedicine guidelines in a 10 page report, also stated that physicians should notify that the patient of cost-sharing responsibilities and limitations in drugs that can be prescribed via telemedicine. They also must ensure, AMA says, that there are follow-up care procedures in place and verify that their medical liability insurance plan covers telemedicine.
"We believe that a patient-physician relationship must be established to ensure proper diagnoses and appropriate follow up care," AMA President Robert M. Wah, M.D., said in a statement. "This new policy establishes a foundation for physicians to utilize telemedicine to help maintain an ongoing relationship with their patients, and as a means to enhance follow-up care, better coordinate care and manage chronic conditions."
The guidelines from AMA are similar to those from Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) over preexisting patient-physician relationships. It also addresses similar concerns over state licensure laws that have been debated about in Florida. Like the Florida Medical Association (FMA), the AMA says that the practitioners must be licensed where the patient receives services and abide by state licensure laws. Also, it says patients must have access to licensure and board certification qualifications of the practitioner in advance of the telemedicine visit.
Many of the other policies recommended by the AMA are standard care procedures--including following evidence-based guidelines, collecting a medical history of the patient, and proper documentation. They say that telemedicine services must be coordinated with the patient's medical home or existing physician.
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