ama-logoThe American Medical Association (AMA), Chicago, Ill, says it believes that the appropriate use of telemedicine to deliver care to patients could greatly improve access and quality of care, while maintaining patient safety.

During its annual meeting this week, the AMA voted to approve a list of guiding principles to ensure the appropriate coverage of and payment for telemedicine services. The principles aim to help foster innovation in the use of telemedicine, protect the patient-physician relationship, and promote improved care coordination and communication with medical homes.

The guiding principles stem from a policy report developed by the AMA’s Council on Medical Service, which addressed coverage and payment for telemedicine. The report provided robust background on the delivery of telemedicine. It also outlined current coverage and telemedicine payment rules, a summary of specialty society practice guidelines, and position statements on telemedicine, and case studies.

“Whether a patient is seeing his or her physician in person or via telemedicine, the same standards of care for the patient must be maintained,” says Robert Wah, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist and ob-gyn at Walter Reed National Military Center in Bethesda, Md, who is the president-elect of the AMA. “Telemedicine can strengthen the patient-physician relationship and improve access [for patients] to receive care remotely, as medically appropriate, including treatment for chronic conditions, which are proven ways to improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs.”

The AMA says the evolution of telemedicine impacts all of its strategic focus areas: improving health outcomes, enhancing physician satisfaction, practice sustainability, and accelerating change in medical education.

The Hearing Review has published many articles on telepractice in hearing care, including a special edition from guest-editor Jerry Northern, PhD, and a recent article by Mona Dworsack-Dodge, AuD.

Source: American Medical Association