The ethics of practicing teledermatology: What’s important to us?
In June 2016, the American Medical Association published a report titled "Ethical Practice in Telemedicine" that provided a set of guidelines to physicians engaging with patients through online technology, based on whether the physician is simply responding with "advice" or is providing actual clinical services through telemedicine. Our offering at DermatologistOnCall® falls into the latter category of providing care.
AMA's guidelines for physicians for such services are summarized as follows*: Uphold the standards of professionalism expected in in-person interactions; Follow appropriate ethical guidelines of relevant specialty; Adhere to telemedicine laws; Use the technology properly; Establish the patient's identity and determine appropriate care steps; Document the interaction; Ensure the tool enables an informed consent process; and Take steps to promote continuity of care.
That can all sound very overwhelming for a care provider considering the delivery of care via telehealth. But a good telemedicine platform will already be well aligned with those AMA guidelines – eliminating the need for the provider to feel burdened by those guidelines.
But let's face it – not all telehealth apps are created equal, and the same goes for teledermatology apps. Providers should do their due diligence on several platforms before determining which they feel most comfortable using personally and professionally.
DermatologistOnCall® platform is aligned with the AMA on how clinical care providers should engage patients during a telehealth visit, but it doesn't end there. At DermatologistOnCall, we have developed and are continually enhancing our Quality Measures (QM) program including the regular monitoring of clinical performance, outcomes, care coordination and follow-up care – and fine-tuning our DermatologistOnCall® platform to ensure best practices.
We take quality care very seriously and assert that a telehealth experience should be held to the same standard of care as an in-office visit.
We welcome providers to learn more about the specific ways our solution supports those AMA guidelines and even goes further. Download our brief PDF report here to get the details, authored by our founder, Dr. Mark P. Seraly, practicing board-certified dermatologist.