AMA to Ponder Creation of Telehealth Ethical Guidelines

Telemedicine is on the rise, and can no longer be termed just a “fad”. The American Medical Association (AMA) is working to establish ethical guidelines for telemedicine and telehealth. What does this mean for telemedicine? Telemedicine is now officially on the way to becoming a part of the health care continuum of care.

AMA’s ethical governing body will meet over the next few days in Chicago to discuss and identify an ethical structure which caregivers engaged in telemedicine can follow.

Telehealth vendors should adopt the following practices according to the AMA:

  • Vendors should inform patients who engage in telehealth that the service has limitations.
  • Vendors should explain to patients the process for next steps to take following up a telehealth consult.
  • Patients should be encouraged to report any telehealth activities to their primary care provider so that the engagement becomes part of their healthcare record and, of course, so the primary care physician is aware of the event.

In an AMA report, the AMA’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs says, “Although physicians’ fundamental ethical responsibilities do not change, the continuum of possible patient-physician interactions in telehealth/telemedicine give rise to differing levels of accountability for physicians.”

Action by the AMA is a true sign that telemedicine is on the rise and here to stay. In addition, these AMA actions will show vendors that reimbursement for telemedicine will become more assured.

For more information on AMA’s discussion of telemedicine ethical guidelines, click here. 

For more information on the AMA Ethical and Judicial Affairs Open Forum, click here.


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