Realizing the Promise of Telehealth: Understanding the Legal and Regulatory Challenges

Trendwatch May 2015

René Y. Quashie, Senior Counsel, and Amy F. Lerman, Associate, in the Health Care and Life Sciences practice, in the firm's Washington, DC, office, authored an article for the American Hospital Association’s Trendwatch, titled “Realizing the Promise of Telehealth: Understanding the Legal and Regulatory Challenges.”

Following is an excerpt:

As telehealth increasingly becomes an integral component of our health care delivery system, and patients become more accustomed to its convenience, hospitals, health systems and other providers will seek new ways to use the rapidly evolving technology in diverse and innovative ways. From emergency department care to remote patient monitoring for chronic care management, teleheath is changing the way health care is provided – both expanding patient access to routine and specialty care while improving patient satisfaction and outcomes.

As cited in a companion TrendWatch, “The Promise of Telehealth for Hospitals, Health Systems and Their Communities,” consumer interest, acceptance and confidence in telehealth are growing as well. Health systems, insurers and private organizations are all responding to increasing consumer pressure for convenient, affordable alternatives to the traditional doctor’s office visit. Services offered to consumers through private companies, either directly or through their insurer, allow patients to connect with a licensed physician, usually within a few minutes, by smartphone, tablet or computer. During the encounter, a doctor can evaluate symptoms, offer a diagnosis and even provide a prescription, if needed. The predictable costs and convenience of these services are very popular with consumers.