Telehealth is the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support public health and health administration, patient and professional health related education and long distance health care. Health care providers often face legal issues regarding mostly cross-state practice and reimbursement since the set of laws governing the provision of telemedicine can’t keep up with the ever evolving telehealth industry.
Moreover, thetelehealth legislation keep on changing every years just to stay relevant to this growing field. In other words, the telehealth industry is ahead of the legal system. It has grown so fast over the last few decades that the legal system is now playing catch-up. Unfortunately, the legal system may be moving too slow to adequately fill in all the gaps in this industry thus making telehealth face a number of legal concerns.
As a result, telehealth is full of grey areas where the legal system has not yet defined rules and regulations. Other areas have half-baked laws while some have no legal direction at all. To make matters worse, telehealth is evolving each day and is thus creating even newer fields that need legal examination and streamlining. Another quagmire in this problem is the fact that telehealth is controlled by state bodies. There is therefore no uniform attention to these issues across the nation. Each state present different challenges depending on how telehealth-ready it’s systems are.
So how can this conundrum be solved? Of course, the state bodies need to do more to address legal loopholes in telehealth. However, in the meantime, telehealth providers can utilize the expertise of telehealth attorneys to address issues such as registration, licensing, ethics, liability and conflict resolution.
Telehealth attorneys have been on the scene for a while now. They are continually researching practices in the industry and have a lot of information on the many grey areas affecting telehealth. They are also constantly engaging the legal and political institutions governing telehealth.
The abundant information obtained from these many years of research can be used to create telehealth policies for providers. Such sound policies with legal input can, and will, shield telehealth providers from being caught in between the law and the patient due to lack of state and federal laws. After all, telehealth attorneys know which areas are most vulnerable. They are also up-to-date with new laws that affect the telehealth industry.