This article examines the problems currently associated with the practice of telemedicine and suggests that the best solution for this particular field of medicine is a national standard of care. This article also suggests that the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) current functions are easily expandable to the telemedicine context; therefore, the agency should regulate the implementation of such a standard in the telemedicine field. This article proposes that the FDA use medical practice guidelines in developing the applicable standard. Other agencies, such as the American Medical Association (AMA) and other website alliances, could also aid the FDA in implementing this standard because of their experience in setting such guidelines for the traditional medical context. Finally, this article suggests that in implementing the national standard of care, the FDA should increase the standard of care that telephysicians, as compared to traditional physicians, owe their patients because of the risks associated with treating patients in the absence of hands-on consultations. By implementing a national standard of care, problems currently associated with telemedicine will be resolved, and physicians and patients will have more confidence in telemedicine.
Lisa Rannefeld, The Doctor Will E-mail You Now: Physicians' Use of Telemedicine to Treat Patients over the Internet, 19 J.L. & Health 75 (2004-2005)