New Telehealth Guidelines Released by North Dakota Medical Board


 

Telemedicine reimbursement

The use of telemedicine software and telehealth technologies has increased dramatically over the last couple years. Worldwide revenue for telehealth devices and services is expected to reach $4.5 billion in 2018, up from $440.6 million in 2013. It’s estimated that the number of patients using telehealth services will grow to 7 million in 2018, up from 350,000 in 2013. Overall, 64% of Americans would be willing to have a video visit with a doctor.

As in many other industries the laws and policies on the books will need to continue to evolve in order for society to obtain the most from such services and at least one state in the Midwest is taking the initiative to do just that. The North Dakota Board of Medicine recently released new guidelines and regulations regarding telehealth solutions with the aim of making the state more receptive to current telemedicine trends, according to the telehealth technologies news site mhealthintelligence.com.

Most of the new changes focus on the quality of services as opposed to the actual processes and telehealth technologies involved in providing the services. One of the first big stipulations is that telehealth services care must be provided by physicians who are licensed in the state that the patient receiving virtual care is located. In other words, the doctor on the other end of telemedicine video conferencing solutions must be licensed in North Dakota if they’re treating North Dakota residents.

One of the measures that appears to actually hinder the growth and prevalence of telehealth solutions states that telemedicine providers must establish a physician-patient relationship prior to starting any diagnosing or treatment.

“Certain types of telemedicine utilizing asynchronous store-and-forward technology or electronic monitoring, such as tele-radiology or ICU monitoring, do not necessarily require an independent examination of the patient to be performed,” the new policy reads. “However, an examination or evaluation that consists only of a static online questionnaire or an audio conversation will not be considered to meet the standard of care.”

These are just two of the more important changes, but it remains to be seen whether or not the citizens of the rural state will ultimately benefit from them. However, the board has said they will hear from public feedback and meet again on November 29 to review any comments or concerns.

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