It took the American Medical Association (AMA) 2 years to discuss and finally adopt a set of ethical guidelines that telemedicine industry should use to ensure effective and safe online and mobile doctor-patient interactions.
The need for such guidelines was strong within eHealthcare due to the fact that telemedicine is completely reshaping how physicians engage with patients.
According to Dr. Jack Resneck, an AMA board member and dermatologist from Chicago, “the new AMA ethical guidance notes that while new technologies and new models of care will continue to emerge, physicians’ fundamental ethical responsibilities do not change.”
AMA guidelines suggest that when working with telemedicine providers, physicians must:
- inform patients about limitations of virtual services provided
- advise patients on all possible ways to arrange for follow-up care
- encourage patients to inform their primary care doctor about their engagement with a telemedicine service provider
- advocate for initiatives to promote access to telehealth services for all patients who could benefit from virtual interactions with the doctor
In addition to these guidelines, AMA suggests that physicians have full access to all relevant information required for them to make well-grounded recommendations for each particular patient.
According to American Well CEO Roy Schoenberg who heartedly welcomes the AMA's ethical guidelines, "It [The AMA’s resolution] reflects a responsible embrace of technologies that can make healthcare significantly less painful for many Americans."
Today, we can see an unprecedented rise in remote consultations between doctors and patients via smartphones, tablets and PCs. This boost is fueled by the inclusion of such digital visits to health insurance coverage by Anthem, Aetna, AET, UnitedHealth Group and Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans.