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FSMB telemedicine guidelines draw fire

Credentialing Resource Center Insider, May 9, 2014

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New guidelines issued by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) will safeguard patients’ privacy and ensure high-quality care in a fast-changing healthcare delivery environment, according to the group. However, some patient advocates, healthcare providers, and healthcare organizations warn the guidance could have a chilling effect on the growth of telemedicine—especially in rural areas and among low-income patients.

In a recent policy statement, the FSMB changed the definition of telemedicine to care that “typically involves the application of secure videoconferencing … to provide or support healthcare delivery by replicating the interaction of a traditional encounter in person between provider and a patient.” According to the federation, telemedicine is not “an audio-only, telephone conversation, e-mail/instant messaging conversation, or fax.”

The statement is not a legal document but is intended to help state medical boards’ develop professional policies and standards for their members.

The FSMB’s policy statement also recommends that physicians:

  • Be licensed in the state where the patient is located
  • Verify the identity and location of the patient they are treating, disclose their credentials, and get a consent form from the patient for the care they are delivering
  • Not write prescriptions for patients based only on an online questionnaire

Source: Kaiser Health News



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