Telemedicine, Licensure and Payment

The delivery of healthcare services via telemedicine should be consistent with the principles of ethical medical practice. Regulation should not unduly restrict accessibility of telemedicine services, but appropriate licensure should be assured to protect the patient and the referring physician. The AAFP opposes the creation of unreasonable barriers to the practice of telemedicine across borders by state licensing boards; however, full legal accountability for the ordering and interpreting of telemedicine services must be maintained. Family physicians should have full discretion in selecting the most appropriate consultants for their patients. (1994) (2010 COD)

By creating ready access to information, telemedicine can provide physicians with current medical information that may not otherwise be available in a given setting. The AAFP believes that payment should be made for physician services that are reasonable and necessary, safe and effective, medically appropriate and provided in accordance with accepted standards of medical practice. The technology used to deliver the services should not be the primary consideration; the critical test is whether the service is medically reasonable and necessary. Care provided via telemedicine should be paid as other physician services. A record of telemedicine interactions must be created that becomes part of the patient's medical record. (1994) (April Board 2010)