Telemedicine, or a way to visit the doctor without actually physically going to the doctor, is a growing trend in the health care industry.
In December of last year Governor Rick Snyder signed a telemedicine bill with restrictions on the practice into law.
Today Michigan law officially breaks it’s silence on the virtual doctor’s visits as the law takes full effect.
“Telemedicine is a way to provide care remotely using real time audio video between a physician or a health care provider and a patient,” says Susan Willis, Vice President of iNDIGO Clinical Program Development.
“I think starting to develop some clear guidelines for practice is an absolute necessity.”
Telemedicine visits take place in the comfort of your own home if you choose, and also Deb Blashill CEO of iNDIGO says, with whatever working physician you may choose; “You select a clinician, you can click on it and see, it’ll give you a little blurb about who they are, what their specialty is, how many years they’ve been In practice etc. and how many patients are in the cue before you.”
Willis tells us the new legislation has multiple parts, “So there are two parts to the legislation. One is the need for patient consent prior to doing an actual telemedicine encounter with a patient, the other part has to do with writing prescription narcotics.”
Those restrictions prohibit physicians from prescribing controlled substances via telehealth.
However, Willis says these restrictions aren’t necessarily a bad thing; “If you look across state lines, if you look nationwide, there are very few cohesive guidelines for how to practice and there are very few cohesive guidelines for requirements for practicing as a telemedicine provider, or even what’s required as a patient.”
The new legislation comes at a time where interactions through technology continue to grow.
“To be honest I think this is a step forward for telemedicine, it tells us that the state and legislatures are taking this seriously as a modality for health care delivery,” says Willis.
For a more in-depth outline of the new legislation’s restrictions click .