AMA telehealth guidance to help physicians understand responsibilities

The American Medical Association during its annual meeting approved new ethical guidance for telemedicine and how those interactions might differ from in-person visits.

The guidance has been in the works for three years by the AMA’s Council on Ethics and Judicial Affairs. The guidance is needed because telemedicine is “reshaping the ways [people] engage with medicine,” according to association. 

“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 board member Jack Resneck, M.D., said in that announcement.

Among the guidance, physicians are encouraged to inform users about the limitations of services provided, advise patients on how to arrange for follow-up care and be actively involved in the ongoing refinement of telemedicine technologies and relevant standards.

“What matters is that physicians have access to the relevant information they need to make well-grounded recommendations for each patient,” Resneck said.

AMA’s telemedicine policy announced previously emphasizes the need for an established doctor-patient relationship before continuing through telemedicine and in-state licensure for telemedicine practitioners.

Meanwhile, the organization has backed a compact developed by the Federation of State Medical Boards to make it easier for physicians to obtain licenses in multiple states.

To learn more:
- read the announcement