Argument: Telemedicine should not replace in-person doctor visits

This is part 2 in our 3 part series on responding to arguments against telemedicine. 

Background:  Advocates for telemedicine policy that includes mid-level providers will likely face opposition.  Three likely arguments will be: (1) patients aren’t interested in telemedicine (covered here), (2) telemedicine should not be allowed replace in-person visits and (3) if telemedicine policy does change, there is no need to include mid-level providers.  Below is a sample evidence-based response to the second argument.

Argument:  We should not let telemedicine replace in-person doctor visits

Response:  It is true that a patient-doctor interaction is different through telemedicine.  Without the physical ability to touch the patient, the doctor is limited in the care they can provide.  However, telemedicine is a tool meant to complement existing healthcare methods, not replace them.  As specified in the American Medical Association guidelines about online medical consultations, “E-visits are not intended for new patients or for established patients with an urgent medical issue, a condition with a significant visual component, such as a rash, or one requiring a physical exam.  Those patients would be asked to visit the patient’s practice for an on-site evaluation (Bailey, 2011).”  Telemedicine will not replace traditional in-person visits; only expand the range of care providers are able to offer.

Bailey, R.A. (2011). The Legal, Financial, and Ethical Implications of Online Consultations, HEINONLINE, 16, J. Tech. L. & Policy, 53

2 thoughts on “Argument: Telemedicine should not replace in-person doctor visits

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