AMA adopts new ethical guidelines for telemedicine

The American Medical Association has approved a new ethical guidance for telehealth and telemedicine services.

The guidance seeks to help physicians understand how their responsibilities alter during patient interactions via telemedicine compared to in-person visits.

"Telehealth and telemedicine are another stage in the ongoing evolution of new models for the delivery of care and patient-physician interactions," said Jack Resneck, MD, an AMA board member, in a statement. "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."

The AMA has adopted the guidelines after three years of development and discussion by the AMA's Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs. The guidelines offer a vote of confidence in telemedicine from the AMA, acknowledging the usefulness and viability of telemedicine in patient care. According to the AMA statement, the guidelines allow physicians to exercise discretion when conducting diagnostic evaluation and prescribing therapy, with caution.

"Physicians who provide clinical services through telemedicine must recognize the limitation of the relevant technologies and take appropriate steps to overcome those limitations," Dr. Resneck said. "What matters is that physicians have access to the relevant information they need to make well-grounded recommendations for each patient."

More articles on telehealth:

Better care at a lower cost: How cloud and telehealth technology can transform small communities 
MUSC enables telehealth visits through Epic-Vidyo integration 
Intermountain Healthcare launches telehealth service for Utah, Idaho patients 

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