Peer Review/Medical Staff Concerns in Telemedicine Practice


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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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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