Coronavirus: AMA produces guide to help telemedicine implementation

April 7, 2020
Keith A. Reynolds
Keith A. Reynolds

The new guide is part of their Digital Health Implementation Playbook Series.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has produced a new guide for physicians to help implement real-time audio and visual appointments with patients.

The new guide will help physicians to adopt the new technology, which has become a godsend to practices impacted by the limiting of non-essential surgeries and procedures due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and the patients who with chronic conditions who would be impacted.

“For medical practices and health systems looking to integrate telemedicine as quickly as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Playbook series not only offers a clear and efficient path to scaled implementation, but also access to institutional knowledge and best practices curated from experts in the field,” AMA Chair Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, says in a news release. “The AMA is committed to making technology an asset, not a time-consuming burden, and the Playbook’s roadmap offers a proven course to telemedicine implementation when physicians need it most."

The AMA is pushing physicians to adopt telehealth in order to support social distancing measures aimed at slowing the spread of the disease, the release says.

Prior to the pandemic, between 2016 and 2019 AMA research showed that the percentage of physicians utilizing telehealth increased from 14 percent to 28 percent. Since the pandemic that percentage has surely increased as practices seek to keep their physicians and staff safe.

Each Playbook in the series provides a 12-step process aimed at helping implement digital health solution. The first six steps in the new guide are: identifying a need, forming a team, defining success, evaluating vendors, making the case, and contracting. The last six steps focus on specific details for implementing a program: designing the workflow, preparing the care team, partnering with the patient, launching the program, evaluating success, and scaling the program.