Recent policy statements from the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the American Medical Association (AMA) highlight the urgent need for ACEP to develop its own policy for the use of telemedicine in emergency medicine. The FSMB’s model guideline for appropriate use of telemedicine includes a statement that physicians using telemedicine technology must first establish a physician-patient relationship and be licensed in the state where the patient is located. The AMA also supports policy that requires a face-to-face telehealth consult and also requires the practitioner to be licensed in the state where the patient is located. The nature of emergency medicine’s focus on unscheduled acute care makes it difficult for physicians to first establish a physician-patient relationship. Policies requiring physicians to be individually licensed in the state where the patient is located may also present significant roadblocks and hamper innovation.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 34 – No 03 – March 2015
An ACEP policy now may avert unintended adverse consequences of other organizations’ future policies. It will hopefully help steer local and national stakeholders with rules and guidelines development, as well as eliminating or modifying restrictive covenants, in this rapidly evolving subspecialty. Creating our own telemedicine policy will additionally broaden awareness of telemedicine among the membership and establish principles for use of technology to create new practice opportunities and provide timely services to patients in more locations.
Ms. Tomar is federal affairs director for ACEP.