- The AMA adopted a cautious telemedicine policy this week that places the emphasis on patient safety.
- The policy calls for a "valid patient-physician relationship" prior to treatment via telemedicine, but the association did yield on its previous stance that treatment be provided only to patients with whom a physician had engaged in at least one face-to-face encounter.
- The policy also calls for physicians to be licensed in the same state as the patient receiving treatment.
The adjustment to the face-to-face recommendation is significant: The association now contends that a "valid patient-physician relationship" can be achieved through a consultation with a doctor with whom the patient already has an established relationship or through criteria “included as part of evidence-based clinical practice guidelines on telemedicine developed by major medical specialty societies, such as those of radiology and pathology.”
The Federation of State Medical Boards adopted a similar model policy in April that also requires doctors to be licensed in the same state as the patients they treat. The policy met with criticism from the American Telemedicine Association, who said that the limitation would restrict reciprocal relationships amongst states and hinder the spread of telemedicine.