AMA Weighs Ethical Telehealth, Doctor Care Via iPhone

As insurance companies expand coverage of telehealth to patients via smartphone, laptop or Skype, the American Medical Association wants to be sure doctors have the proper ethical guidance on this fast-growing form of care.

The AMA’s annual policy-making House of Delegates later this week will debate telemedicine, voting on new policy created by the group’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs that will advise doctors on everything from patient privacy and diagnosis to follow-up care for virtual visits between doctors and patients. The meeting, which helps set the powerful doctor group’s lobbying agenda, runs Saturday, June 6 through the 10th in Chicago.

“As the public becomes increasingly fluent in utilizing novel technologies in all aspects of daily life, evolving applications in health care are altering the contours of when, where, and how patients and patients and physicians engage with one another,” the AMA ethics council wrote in excerpts of a report released prior to next weekend’s meeting. “In any model of care, patients need to be able to trust that physicians will place patient welfare above other interests, provide