AMA addresses MU, telehealth in policy updates

Twitter icon
Facebook icon
LinkedIn icon
e-mail icon
Google icon
 - computer

The American Medical Association's (AMA) house of Delegates is holding its Interim Meeting and announced its latest policy efforts regarding Meaningful Use (MU) and telehealth.

Recently, an AMA-led coalition of 111 medical societies called on Congressional leaders to refocus the MU program on the goal of achieving a truly interoperable system of EHRs. The organization also launched its initiative for providers to share their experiences with EHRs, especially how implementation has been a costly burden that limits innovation. 

AMA adopted new policy that seeks revisions to quality standards and MU requirements to make them more streamlined, usable and less burdensome. AMA also adopted new policy that would enhance its efforts to accelerate the development and adoption of universal and enforceable EHR interoperability standards for all vendors before the implementation of the Medicare Incentive Based Payment (MIPs). 

“The AMA wants the Meaningful Use program to succeed, but swift Congressional action is needed to refocus the goals of the program on promoting better coordinated and high-quality patient care instead of burdensome, administrative tasks for physicians,” said AMA Immediate Past Chair Barbara L. McAneny, MD.

The group also addressed the use of telehealth by sending ethical guidelines, crafted by AMA's Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs, back to committee for review. They are designed to address how physicians who use telehealth ensure privacy, educate patients on its limits, encourage patients to inform their primary care provider about any telehealth services they have received and teach patients how to schedule follow-up care.

Delegates at the Committee on the AMA Constitution and Bylaws meeting expressed concerns about the practicality of the telehealth ethics guidelines for specialists, such as pathologists and radiologists. They also said the guidelines failed to incorporate telemedicine-based medical liability.

Delegates recommended additions to the guidelines, including checking the appropriateness of telehealth over diagnoses or prescriptions; confirming a patient's identity; disclosing any financial interests in telehealth applications or services; and allowingn states or medical societies to develop independent rules since providers are not required to follow AMA's ethics recommendations.

AMA plans to reconsider the guidelines at its annual meeting next June.