Telemedicine Regulation: What’s Next | HIMSS TV

14 October 2021 Health Care Law Today Blog
Authors: Nathaniel M. Lacktman

In a recent episode of the Virtual Care Paradigm, Nathaniel Lacktman, Chair of Foley’s Telemedicine & Digital Health Industry Team, met with reporter Kat Jercich, Senior Editor of Healthcare IT News. They discussed Lacktman’s philosophy on how regulation can be used to facilitate, rather than stifle, innovation in telemedicine and digital health. He also shared ideas on how entrepreneurs can keep pace with the changes to come. 

When asked what lessons the industry can learn from the changes to telemedicine laws introduced during COVID-19, Lacktman observed, “regulation, itself, is not inherently bad nor a barrier to innovation. Innovation is simply a process of change, introducing new and different concepts to make something better, whether that change occurs incrementally or through breakthrough leaps.” Smart regulation, he opined, should be structured as a bridge to direct the industry from where it is today, to where we want it to be. Publicly-available guidelines, policies and FAQs can be an easy, effective means to give companies the confidence they want to pursue new ideas without the need to hire expert consultants and lawyers. 

With regard to specific telemedicine modalities, Lacktman said the better laws are modality-neutral and instead emphasize quality of care rather than proscribe specific tools that must be used in specific scenarios. The reality is, there are multiple modalities of care a clinician can draw upon when treating patients. The key is having the clinical skills to know when it is appropriate to use a particular modality or care device, as telemedicine is not always appropriate for every situation, just as an in-person exam is not necessary for every situation. The art and skill of the clinician knowing their own comfort level with technology is more important than publishing labyrinthine technical regulations that read like a Swedish furniture assembly instruction manual.

Join Us at HLTH

Join Lacktman, along with Foley partners Chris Donovan, T.J. Ferrante, Kyle Faget, and Senior Counsel Rachel Goodman, at the 2021 HLTH Conference in Boston on October 17-20. Foley & Lardner is a proud sponsor of this year’s conference, and part of HLTH’s Funding Founder Program. Learn more here.

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