Telehealth From the Direct Service Provider Perspective

Roger Downey, GlobalMedBy Roger Downey, Communications Manager, GlobalMed
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A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the American Telemedicine Association Policy Summit in Washington, D.C.  This turned into two very meaningful days for those of us who are involved in the industry, but I’m thinking the people who couldn’t go might appreciate what was said (or not said).  That’s why what was kicked around among members of the Direct Service Provider Forum was so interesting.

The Direct Service Provider Forum meeting wasn’t even on the official agenda for the two-day conference that began the afternoon of June 27th.  A few days before, I received an invitation for the morning forum meeting on the 27th and accepted.  And I’m glad I did because there were 20 or 25 of us in this large meeting room discussing the issues that most providers involved in “remote patient care” (that’s telemedicine or, if you prefer, telehealth) are concerned about BEFORE the actual start of the summit.

Establishing the Doctor-Patient Relationship

Joe Peterson, the CEO of Specialists on Call, chairs this relatively new subgroup of the ATA Industry Council, and he handled those duties for the meeting.  The presentations began with Gary Capistrant, ATA’s Senior Director of Public Policy, discussing provider licensing and regulation.  He told the direct service providers in the room that most states still require an established doctor-patient relationship for prescribing prescription medication, but he believes, as does the ATA leadership, that the issue of prescribing should be left to the provider.

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