The Vermont Board of Medical Practice in May, approved and released their first document titled “Policy on the Appropriate Use of Telemedicine Technologies in the Practice of Medicine”. The challenge to the Board was to find the right balance so that new technologies will be able to offer convenience and better access to care.
FSMB www.fsmb.org Chair Jon V. Thomas, MD appointed the “State Medical Boards Appropriate Regulation of Telemedicine (SMART) Workgroup to review existing FSMB policies on telemedicine.
The policy document offers guidelines for the appropriate use of telemedicine technologies in medical practices:
- The physician must be licensed or under the jurisdiction of the medical board of the state where the patient is located at the time telemedicine is used
- Physicians must take appropriate steps to establish a physician-patient relationship
- Prior to the treatment recommended or provided a documented medical evaluation is required along with the relevant clinical history to establish the diagnosis, and to identify underlying conditions and/or contra-indications to the recommended treatment
- Evidence documenting appropriate patient informed consent for the use of telemedicine must be obtained and maintained
- Patients should be able to seek follow-up care or information from the physician who conducts an encounter using telemedicine
- An emergency plan is required and must be provided by the physician to the patient when the care is provided using telemedicine
- The medical record needs to include as applicable all patient-related electronic communications
- Physicians need to meet or exceed applicable federal and state legal requirements of medical health information privacy
- Online services used by physicians providing medical services using telemedicine needs to clearly disclose the necessary information and must have accurate and transparent information
- When prescribing is contemplated, measures must be implemented to guarantee that the identity of the patient and provider is established. Prescribing medications whether in-person or via telemedicine is at the discretion of the physician
Go to http://healthvermont.gov/hc/med_board/bmp.aspx for more information.