Recent news reports on delivery of primary care through use of telemedicine has prompted OAFP, Ohio State Medical Association, Ohio Osteopathic Association and Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Association to begin discussions with State Medical Board of Ohio as to how best to ensure that such models have necessary patient protections.
- In an environment as fast changing as telemedicine, how can rules be adopted that will not be hopelessly out of date in a very short period of time?
- In a regulatory world based on state licensure, how will physicians caring for patients across state lines be regulated? How can we ensure that multi-state telemedicine providers are properly regulated and held accountable? How can discipline be coordinated in a multi-state setting?
- Should there be specific licensing requirements applicable to telemedicine?
- How will telemedicine services be reimbursed? Reimbursement and payment systems for telemedicine are undefined.
- How will the patient/physician relationship be defined or re-defined?
- How will telemedicine impact prescribing regulations?
- How best can continuity of care be promoted in a telemedicine environment?
- What will the clinical guidelines and standard of care be for telemedicine practice? What constitutes a physical examination? What constitutes appropriate follow-up care?
- “Rite Aid Clinics Place New Twist on ‘Doc in a Box’”
- “Telemedicine Kiosk Company Signs Technology Integration Deal with Sprint”
- “Ohio’s Next Billion Dollar Business”
- Federation of State Medical Boards’ Telemedicine Report
Conclusions reached by meeting participants stressed the necessity of ensuring that use of telemedicine is not just a business model to make money but is a health care model with the well-being and best interests of the patient at the center. In addition, the group felt that while the technology is amazing and can be an incredibly useful tool in provided high quality patient care, the concern lies with who is on the other end of the tool – are they using the technology appropriately, are they qualified to make the diagnosis and provide high quality patient care using the technology?
OAFP’s Advocacy Commission will be discussing this issue further at its next meeting scheduled for Saturday, April 21.
What do you think? OAFP would love to hear what you have to say about this latest business model for primary care delivery. Please use the commenting feature below.