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AMA Releases Guiding Principles on Telemedicine

The American Medical Association (“AMA”) recently approved “guiding principles” regarding the provision of medical services through telecommunications technologies, i.e. telemedicine. These principles stem from a previous policy report developed by the AMA’s Council on Medical Service and address major issues in telemedicine, including:

  • Ensuring the appropriate coverage of and payment for telemedicine services;
  • Fostering innovation in the use of telemedicine;
  • Protecting the patient-physician relationship; and,
  • Promoting improved care coordination with medical homes.

The AMA notes that the evolution of telemedicine impacts all of its strategic focus areas, and according to an AMA press release , “Whether a patient is seeing his or her physician in person or via telemedicine, the same standards of care must be maintained.” This statement demonstrates the tremendous growth of the use of telemedicine, which is often seen as a substitute for, not an equal to, face-to-face interaction with a physician.

In Kentucky, where doctor shortages are already rampant (especially in rural areas) and the Medicaid population has expanded, telemedicine can provide a promising solution in addressing barriers to care. As the Affordable Care Act puts more emphasis on the quality of and access to care for all citizens, state boards should consider the possibilities inherent in telemedicine. For more about the AMA’s new guidelines, check back on Thursday.

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This article does not constitute legal advice.

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