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AAP Evaluates Potential Impact of Telemedicine in Pediatrics

Telemedicine has potential to improve access and physician workforce shortages

MONDAY, June 29, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Telemedicine can address access and physician workforce shortages and should be encouraged within the framework of the medical home, according to a policy statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and published online June 29 in Pediatrics.

James P. Marcin, M.D., M.P.H., from the AAP Committee on Pediatric Workforce, and colleagues describe the expected and potential impact that telemedicine will have on pediatric physicians' efforts to improve access and physician workforce shortages.

Noting that telemedicine can be used to connect patients to needed, yet otherwise inaccessible, high-quality care, the committee supported recommendations such as advocacy for reduction in barriers to telemedicine to extend its reach. Furthermore, physicians who deliver health care services via telemedicine should receive equitable payment for their services. Telemedicine services for episodic care should be performed within the framework of the medical home, avoiding fragmented care. Stable funding mechanisms should be promoted to support the continued development, expansion, and maintenance of telemedicine, and improve patient access. Incentives should be offered to those demonstrating an improvement in health care through implementation of telemedicine. Future research should continue to examine the effectiveness of telemedicine in addressing workforce needs, expanding patient access, improving quality of care, and reducing health care costs.

"Telemedicine technologies, applied to the medical home and its collaborating providers, have the potential to improve current models of care by increasing communication among clinicians, resulting in more efficient, higher quality, and less expensive care," the authors write.

Full Text - Policy Statement
Full Text - Technical Report

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