Telemedicine is coming to town

Dr. Weeks’ Comment:  Telemedicine is clearly an intelligent and convenient manner for allocating scare resources (time in particular, both that of the doctor and the patient!).  I was doing telemedicine in a thorough and health-optimizing manner a decade ago and, as is the case for many innovators, was attacked by the medical board for it. Now telemedicine’s time has come and only profit hungry doctors (and their politically blunt instrument the medical boards) insist upon seeing the patient face to face in every instance. We re in the 21st century:  All other commerce can be transacted with Fax, Phone, Skype, so this protest as regards quality control and safety is a straw man. A careful doctor can limit what information and advice she or he is willing to offer over the telemedicine media as easily as if in the office setting.  90% of today’s care is simply transfer of information. Certainly some times the doctor will confess she or he is unable to adequately care for the patient unless see in person.  In those instances the patient must come to the clinic or, if they wish, avail themselves of the services of a more care-less doctor….

 

Even the courts are backing me up on this.

For now, Texas telemedicine providers can continue to practice under the prior regulations, which do not explicitly require an initial face-to-face or in-person examination prior to prescribing drugs.  Telemedicine providers should continue to follow this case as there could be implications for both state medical boards and telemedicine providers as they grapple with using telemedicine technology to enhance patient care while balancing the need for patient safety.

 

For the whole article in the national law review, read it HERE

 

For an update about the merits of telemedicine   read it HERE 

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