Virtual Mentor

Virtual Mentor. December 2014, Volume 16, Number 12.

Ethics Poll

Doctors at a Distance

The Ethics Poll is a snapshot of the opinions of interested readers.

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.

Poll results reflect the opinions of visitors to the site who voluntarily answer the poll questions. Those visitors do not represent a random sample of Virtual Mentor readers. The viewpoints expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.