May 6, 2014
On April 26, 2014, the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), representing 70 states and territories, approved updated guidelines that constitute a model policy for the safe practice of medicine with telemedicine technology. FSMB conducted an extensive review of current telemedicine technologies and existing standards of care promulgated by state medical boards to generate the guidelines. FSMB’s goal in developing the model policy was to promote widespread adoption of telemedicine technology by providing state legislatures and medical boards with a tool to remove regulatory barriers to the use of the technology, while still protecting public health and safety through consistent standards of care.
The model policy is only advisory. An individual state medical board may adopt the model policy, modify it or retain its existing telemedicine standards. It remains to be seen how many states will adopt the model policy in its proposed form or incorporate elements of the model policy into existing laws, regulations and/or guidance. However, the model policy was not adopted without industry scrutiny, as the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) responded to a draft of the model policy with a series of proposed amendments.
A summary of the most significant elements of the model policy follows:
If you have any questions about the model policy or existing telemedicine laws, regulations and guidelines in your state, please do not hesitate to contact one of the authors.