The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) supports enhanced-access physician-patient interactions, including virtual/electronic visits or “e-visits” which occur over safe, secure, online communication systems. AAFP defines an e-visit as an evaluation and management service provided by a physician or other qualified health professional to an established patient using a web-based or similar electronic-based communication network for a single patient encounter.


Guidelines for e-visits:

  1. e-visits are available only to established patients who have previously received care from the physician’s practice;
  2. the patient initiates the process, and agrees to e-visit service terms, privacy policy, and charge for receiving asynchronous care from a physician or other qualified health professional;
  3. electronic communication occurs over a HIPAA-compliant online connection;
  4. an e-visit includes the total interchange of online inquiries and other communications associated with this single patient encounter;
  5. the physician appropriately documents the e-visits, including all pertinent communication related to the encounter, in the patient’s medical/health record;
  6. the physician or other qualified health professional has a defined period of time within which responses to an e-visit request are completed; and
  7. e-visits should be a payable physician service.

(2008) (2013 COD)