At its annual meeting on June 13, the American Medical Association (AMA) adopted ethical guidelines for the use of telemedicine, affirming the organization’s support of the use of telemedicine technologies within the confines of certain ethical principles. The guidelines were adopted after several years of debate and solidify AMA’s support for providing medical care via telehealth technologies.
At an AMA meeting in November 2015, during which the proposed guidelines were discussed, AMA Chief Executive Officer James Madara acknowledged the new “remarkable tools” now available in the digital health space. The guidelines are a show of support from the AMA for the technological innovations that are reshaping the physician-patient relationship and the manner in which health care is delivered in the 21st Century, recognizing that such technological changes do not alter physicians’ fundamental ethical responsibilities.
The recommendations contained in the guidelines include the following:
Managing Conflicts of Interest
Privacy and Security
Standards of Care
Professional Organizations/Health Care Institutions
The guidelines will be incorporated into the AMA’s Code of Ethics by amending Opinions E-5.025, “Physician Advisory or Referral Services by Telecommunication,” and E-5.027, “Use of Health-Related Online Sites.” In the press release announcing the new guidelines, AMA Board Member Jack Resneck, MD summarized a main goal of the guidelines, stating, “[p]hysicians who provide clinical services through telemedicine must recognize the limitation of the relevant technologies and take appropriate steps to overcome those limitations.”
Originally, this post was an alert sent to the American Health Lawyers Association’s (AHLA) Health and Information Technology Practice Group Members. It appears here with permission. For more information, visit AHLA’s website.