BOSTON, April 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- American Well applauds the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and its State Medical Boards Appropriate Regulation of Telemedicine (SMART) Workgroup for developing innovative model state policy for the safe and secure utilization of telemedicine in the delivery of healthcare. This policy, "Model Policy for the Appropriate Use of Telemedicine Technologies in the Practice of Medicine," developed through a robust and collaborative process will provide states with clear definitions and principles they can look to for guidance when developing new policies that govern telehealth.
"This policy is a bold step towards a reality where all patients can access quality care irrespective of time, place and location," said Roy Schoenberg, MD, CEO of American Well. "Now that the Federation has done its job as leaders, we look to states to do the same - embrace this model policy, and thereby ensure that only safe, secure and appropriate care can be delivered through today's telehealth technologies."
Telehealth – real-time video encounters between patients and providers – is becoming a widely accepted practice across the United States. A study by Deloitte predicts that this year alone, there could be up to 75 million E-visits in North America alone. This would represent 25% of the addressable market.1 As of April, 20 states and the District of Columbia have passed mandates for coverage of commercially provided telehealth services, and 46 states offer some type of Medicaid reimbursement for telehealth services provided. In addition, many states have launched pilots or formed workgroups to explore the potential which exists to address gaps in care through telehealth.
Despite this innovation, there exists an inconsistent and dated patchwork of state laws and regulations that have suppressed the deployment of telehealth in both the private and public sectors. The FSMB addressed both this inconsistency and advancements in technology by forming the SMART Workgroup. Through a collaborative process, involving diverse stakeholders from across the nation, the SMART Workgroup developed the "Model Policy for the Appropriate Use of Telemedicine Technologies in the Practice of Medicine." This provides states with principles they can look to for guidance when developing new policies that govern telehealth.
These principles include:
Evaluation and Treatment of Patient. Treatment made in an on-line setting should be held to the same standard of appropriate practice as those in traditional settings;
Establishing a Treatment Relationship Online. A physician-patient relationship can be established using telemedicine, so long as the standard of care is met;
Online Prescribing Safeguards. Prescribing in a telehealth encounter should be at the discretion of the physician; and
Ensuring Privacy, Security, Documentation, and Continuity. Telehealth encounters should be HIPAA compliant, include informed consent, the generation of a medical record, and support continuity of care.
The "Model Policy for the Appropriate Use of Telemedicine Technologies in the Practice of Medicine" was ratified by the Federation of State Medical Boards' Board of Delegates at FSMB's annual meeting in Denver, Colorado, which was held on April 24-26. Individual state medical boards have discretion as to if they adopt the guidelines contained therein.
About American Well
American Well Corporation is a telehealth services company that brings healthcare into the homes and workplaces of patients. The Company's web and mobile telehealth platform connects patients and clinicians for live, clinically meaningful visits through video, supplemented by secure text chat and phone. American Well partners with leading health plans, delivery networks, retail pharmacies, employers, and distributors to deploy telehealth services, including solution design and set-up, provider network design and administration, and marketing to support adoption by consumers, physicians and employer groups. For more information, visit www.americanwell.com.
American Well is a registered trademark of American Well Corporation in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks used are the property of their respective owners.