The Maine Board of Licensure in Medicine enacted new guidelines governing the practice of telemedicine and the use of technology to deliver health care services. Effective June 2014, Maine’s guidelines expand upon prior Board advisory rules and policies. The guidelines, which are flexible and forward-thinking to protect patient safety while allowing for health innovation, represent the Board’s overall approach to telemedicine practice in Maine.
Regrettably, the Maine guidelines appear to use the terms “face-to-face” and “in-person” interchangeably, and not always with consistency. This may cause some confusion among telemedicine providers, so it is essential to review Maine’s guidelines in their overall context to best understand the intent. Other states continue to adopt a more standardized approach by using “in-person” to mean when the provider and patient are physically located in the same room, and recognizing that a “face-to-face” consult may occur via telemedicine interactive audio and video.
States continue to develop guidelines and policies governing the practice of telemedicine. Maine’s telemedicine guidelines permit physicians using technology to provide virtual care in a broad and meaningful manner. Providers in Maine are already taking advantage of telemedicine, making quality health care more readily accessible to those living in rural areas.
Please note Foley Summer Associate, Arrie Kustin, was also an author of this post and the Health Care Law Today team thanks her for her contributions.