The American Medical Association House of Delegates decided Monday that proposed recommendations for ethical practices in telemedicine did not clearly address medical liability concerns and sent them back to the authors for more work.
The recommendations were included in a report developed by the AMA's Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs and were discussed during a meeting of the Committee on the AMA Constitution and Bylaws held Sunday at the House of Delegates interim meeting in Atlanta.
Along with the liability concerns, the committee found that some recommendations were impractical for specialists such as pathologists and radiologists. These included proposals that patients be informed of telemedicine's limitations and that physicians should advise telemedicine users on how to arrange follow-up care.
Other recommendations included disclosing any financial interests physicians may have in the telemedicine application or service; establishing a patient's identify and confirming that telemedicine services are appropriate for a patient's condition before offering a diagnosis or prescription; making sure a telemedicine service protects patients' privacy; and ensuring that steps will be taken to ensure continuity of care.
Delegates also suggested that the recommendations allow a state or specialty medical society to develop its own guidelines and that it be noted that the AMA's recommendations are only meant to serve as guidance.
The revised report is expected to be reconsidered at the delegates annual meeting in Chicago set for June 11-16, 2016. An earlier version of the ethical practice of telemedicine report had been presented at the annual meeting this past June and was also referred.