In a new position paper, the American College of Physicians (ACP) says that telemedicine can improve access to care, but policies are needed to balance the benefits and risks for both patients and physicians. The authors note that conscious scrutiny is especially important as policymakers and stakeholders shape the landscape for telemedicine going forward. The position paper, A Guide to the Use of Telemedicine in Primary Care Settings: An American College of Physicians Position Paper, is published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
Telemedicine is the use of technology to deliver care at a distance. While the use of technology, including electronic health records, patient portals, and telemedicine can augment the practice of medicine in an efficient and secure way, there are risks and challenges associated with their use. In its policy paper, ACP supports the expanded role of telemedicine as a method of health care delivery and offers more than a dozen policy statements and recommendations for utilization and reimbursement.
An accompanying editorial suggests that telemedicine offers an opportunity for significant cost savings compared to traditional office visits. The author writes that the innovation telemedicine promises is not just doing the same thing remotely that used to be done face-to-face, but instead recognizing that many things thought to require an office visit actually don’t.