The American Medical Association's policymaking body will debate this week in Chicago the hot-button issue of clinical standards for doctors who provide telemedicine services.
At the annual conference, which runs June 6-10, the 538 delegates are expected to vote on recommendations from the AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs that address how doctors who conduct virtual visits by phone or video conferencing should ensure patient privacy, as well as physicians' responsibility to educate patients on the limitations of telemedicine services. The recommendations call on telemedicine physicians to advise patients on how to arrange follow-up care, as well as to encourage them to let their regular primary-care physicians know about all telemedicine services they have received.
The discussion comes in the wake of telemedicine provider Teladoc winning a court injunction to block Texas Medical Board rules, supported by the Texas Medical Association, to require doctors to have an in-person visit with a patient before being allowed to conduct a telemedicine visit, with certain exceptions. Critics say the medical board rules were intended to limit competition from telemedicine providers, while supporters say they would protect quality of care.
The delegates also will consider a resolution calling for stricter state limits on non-medical exemptions for child vaccinations.
Dr. Andrew Gurman, a hand surgeon from Altoona, Pa., is running unopposed for AMA president-elect, and Dr. Susan Bailey, an allergist from Fort Worth, Texas, is running unopposed for Speaker of the House of Delegates.