Telemedicine Accreditation?


And this is how it starts. Some bogus organization tries to gain credibility and subsequently creates a new “program” and “guidelines” for doctors to follow:

In an effort to build confidence in the growing telemedicine industry and to set down meaningful applications for consumers and physicians, the American Telemedicine Association is working toward an autumn launch of an accreditation program for primary care and urgent care. The guidelines reflect an industry navigating between wanting to expand its use as well as setting parameters for it.

Are you kidding me?  I have been answering patients phone calls for twenty years and soon I will have to pass another test because it now includes video?  Here are some other garbage highlights from this piece with my thoughts in parenthesis:

  • The program is needed to help consumers make good choices and to reassure patients that online medical consultations are convenient and safe. (Remember, if you say that it is “all about the patients” then anything after that has to be true.  It is called using the patient card.)
  • Broadly, the guidelines spell out that telemedicine in primary care settings should treat uncomplicated conditions or be used for simple or routine follow-up for patients with underlying chronic conditions. (You mean I can’t treat chest pain or a stroke via telemedicine?)
  • For example, although primary care telemedicine sessions might begin with people who are mildly ill, that could quickly worsen depending on the condition. (Duh.  Really?)

The a really stupid article about a really stupid premise but doesn’t mean it won’t gain traction.  I predict a movement for another test for us to pass and more money for us to pay so that we can be certified to use FaceTime with a patient.  You heard it here first.


Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  6 comments for “Telemedicine Accreditation?

  1. Bridget Reidy
    June 2, 2014 at 6:50 am

    I’ve already lost a potential primary care job in Northern British Columbia because the primary docs were taken over by a telemedicine company, in Vancouver I think. Now I’ve seen it used for derm and psych but there one presumes a primary doc (or provider) is involved at some point.

  2. mamadoc
    May 29, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    Yup, the ABFM will decide we need to take an overpriced test and to overpriced CME just so they can “certify” to do what we’ve been doing. That’ll give that bunch of overpaid mouthbreathers another reason to justify their useless existence.

  3. Kurt
    May 28, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    Ahhhhh, I’m in a medically underserved area and though tele-psychiatry may not be optimal, it might be better
    than nothing. Kurt

  4. May 26, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Meanwhile, people are chattering about rebuilding the EMR in a Facebook-like setting, with medical advice on Twitter. The customer wants it that way. Just don’t make any mistakes.
    America wants the Third-World-Medicine approach to healthcare. If you live in Togo or Namibia, there are no doctors – go to your village’s pharmacy and the pharmacist will give you a medicine for your symptoms. If you can afford it. VERY visionary. Namibians don’t have “primary-care-doctors.” They do have the Internet. Don’t they? Face-Time?

  5. Pat
    May 25, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    This is no different in spirit than the origin-justifications for JCAHO inspections or the stupid IOM report that exploded the maintenance-of-certification industry. Doug you nailed the bit about putting “patients” as the prefix: anyone opposing anything beginning with “patients, “women”, “passengers”, “veterans”, “minorities”, “children”, “environment”, “disabled”, “puppies”, “sunshine”, and so on clearly hates the title group and wants it destroyed.

    I hope would-be primary care hopefuls are reading this and heeding: primary care will use garbage like this and consume you. Stay away from it!

  6. Randy
    May 25, 2014 at 8:53 am

    “I predict a movement for another test for us to pass and more money to pay so that we can be certified to use FaceTime with a patient. ”

    Not to mention another bone for the trial lawyers – “You were practicing telemedicine? Are you certified for that, doctor? Were you following the established guidelines of the American Telemedicine Association?”

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