Feb 24 , 2016

Telemedicine – Benefits and Challenges


Telemedicine benefits when your patients are remotely located, you have a unique expertise or you want to add a secondary service to your medical group. The concept of tele-health is spreading faster than expected and the American College of Physicians is giving advice to doctors who connect with patients remotely.

The position of ACP for telemedicine in 2016 includes cautions, challenges and benefits for primary care doctors.  If your medical group is thinking of reaching patients through this new technology, the following points are recommended for a better understanding;

  • Make sure the liability insurance covers telemedicine
  • Start with established patients
  • Offer the same standard of care as in personal encounters

Some of the challenges are,

  • Difficulties in obtaining multiple licenses across state lines
  • Challenges about how insurance will pay for telemedicine
  • Lack of definition of Telemedicine

It should not be adopted because it is trendy. As the ACP puts it: “ACP believes that physicians should use their professional judgement about whether the use of telemedicine is appropriate for a patient. Physicians should not compromise their ethical obligation to deliver clinically appropriate care for the sake of new technology adoption.”

Telemedicine ensures greater patient convenience (no travel is required) and a consultation facility for people who might otherwise not get care (no specialty doctors in their area) through e-visits. It also offers savings for hospitals, physicians and other providers. To be precise, physicians use this services to decrease the distance with their patients, because more services also offer around the clock service.

According to HIMSS, “Telemedicine offers a great deal of promise in its ability to provide medical services to populations unable to obtain them”. Other potential advantages of telemedicine include monitoring prescription compliance, management of chronic conditions and asynchronous communication (specialists can verify images or lab results over phone, which only requires the patient and the doctor to be present at a specific time).