AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Journal of Ethics Header

AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. December 2014, Volume 16, Number 12: 955-1035.

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Telemedicine's Challenges for the Medical Profession

Ethics Poll

Which of the following best expresses your opinion about telemedicine--the use of communication technology to connect patients in one location with clinicians in another location?
I would wait to see, or travel some distance to see, a physician in person-except in a life-or-death emergency.
It's fine to have x-rays and other scans read by someone far away, but I want a physician with me in person to tell me what the diagnosis means and suggest the treatments.
I would accept a telemedicine appointment to see a specialist who was far from my home.
I don't believe a physician viewing me on a television screen is able to connect with me as a real live person who is sick and worried and frightened.
I would be happy to trade waiting in a physician's office for having a televideo connection with a doctor in my home for most routine medical situations.
I am more likely to be honest and forthcoming to a physician who doesn't know my friends and family and whom I won't meet in the local grocery store.

Check all of the following that apply.
I or my patients have a health-monitoring device that sends information to my physician or medical record.
I or my patients have had x-rays or scans read by a radiologist who was not at the location where the scans were made.
I have consulted with a patient or clinician through video teleconferencing.
As far as I know, I have not participated in any telehealth/telemedicine services.

Adoption of telemedicine is hampered by the fact that physicians must have medical licenses in each state in which a distant patient resides.
With which of the following statements do you agree?
Medical standards differ from community to community, so physicians should continue to have to be licensed in each state in which a patient resides.
Medical licensing boards should figure out a way to grant interstate licenses to physicians who want to practice telemedicine.
Don't know.

From the Editor

Telemedicine: A Dynamic and Expanding Practice
Vinod E. Nambudiri
Full Text | PDF
Virtual Mentor. 2014; 16:957-959.

Educating for Professionalism

Ethics Cases

Teleradiology: The Importance of Communication
Commentary by Richard Gunderman
Full Text | PDF
Virtual Mentor. 2014; 16:960-963.

Telepsychiatry as Part of a Comprehensive Care Plan
Commentary by Nicholas Freudenberg and Peter M. Yellowlees
Full Text | PDF
Virtual Mentor. 2014; 16:964-968.

The Tele-ICU
Commentary by Allison Harriott and Michael A. DeVita
Full Text | PDF
Virtual Mentor. 2014; 16:969-975.


Telemedicine: Its Opportunities and Challenges Podcast
Interview with Naomi Fried

Medical Education

The George Washington University Emergency Medicine Telemedicine and Digital Health Fellowship
Neal Sikka, Tina Choudhri, and Robert Jarrin
Full Text | PDF
Virtual Mentor. 2014; 16:976-980.

In the Literature

Privacy and Security Concerns in Telehealth
Timothy M. Hale and Joseph C. Kvedar
Full Text | PDF
Virtual Mentor. 2014; 16:981-985.

State of the Art and Science

The Success of Telehealth Care in the Indian Health Service
Howard Hays, Mark Carroll, Stewart Ferguson, Christopher Fore, and Mark Horton
Full Text | PDF
Virtual Mentor. 2014; 16:986-996.

Telemedicine Use in International Relief Efforts
Eseosa Asemota and Carrie L. Kovarik
Full Text | PDF
Virtual Mentor. 2014; 16:997-1001.

Law, Policy, and Society

Policy Forum

Telemedicine: Innovation Has Outpaced Policy
Karen Rheuban, Christine Shanahan, and Katherine Willson
Full Text | PDF
Virtual Mentor. 2014; 16:1002-1009.

Interstate Licensure for Telemedicine: The Time Has Come
Mei Wa Kwong, Mario Gutierrez, and James P. Marcin
Full Text | PDF
Virtual Mentor. 2014; 16:1010-1013.

Medicine and Society

Telemedicine’s Potential Ethical Pitfalls
Shivan J. Mehta
Full Text | PDF
Virtual Mentor. 2014; 16:1014-1017.


Suggested Readings and Resources
Virtual Mentor. 2014; 16:1018-1031.

About the Contributors
Full Text | PDF
Virtual Mentor. 2014; 16:1032-1035.