Peer Review/Medical Staff Concerns in Telemedicine Practice

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Originally published in American Health Lawyers Association's MedStaff News - November 2012.

Much ink has been spilled over the last several years concerning the growth of telemedicine. Taking advantage of high-tech assets to examine and diagnose, indeed sometimes to treat patients who are remote from a provider's location, implicates many legal concerns. Licensure, multijurisdiction care standards, liability insurance, and informed consent are among them.

A physician in Cleveland treating a patient in New Jersey, either through audio only or through audiovisual communications, typically must be licensed in both states. Virtually no state exempts licensure, whether the patient self-presents or is referred to the telepractitioner by his in-state physician for diagnosis, consultation, or treatment. When physicians confer just to share thoughts and to obtain collegial advice, outside of a direct care relationship, licensure may not always be required. However, if the telepractitioner is rendering care to the patient, then licensure in the patient's state is generally necessary.

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