In its recommendations, the AMA cements what providers have been hearing for years: Telemedicine needs more regulation and reimbursement.
In what is seen as its biggest step forward in acknowledging the value of telemedicine, the American Medical Association issued, in early June, a list of eight policy recommendations for providers who provide telemedicine services to follow.
The AMA's suggestions include establishing a "valid patient-physician relationship" before telemedicine services are provided; requiring physicians to be licensed in the state where the patient who is receiving telemedicine services resides; transparency in services and cost, as well as encouraging more reimbursement, research, and support for telemedicine pilot projects.
The overall message received by the telemedicine provider community was a reflection of what other organizations, including the American Telemedicine Association, have been saying for years about telemedicine: It needs regulation and reimbursement.
"The policy, as a whole, is a good one," says Ben Green, MD, a medical director at Carena, a primary and urgent care telemedicine provider based in Seattle. "The fact that the AMA has recognized telemedicine is great. It's an excellent step in the right direction. We need better evidence, and clinical practice guidelines for telemedicine."
Jacqueline Fellows is a contributing writer at HealthLeaders Media.