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AAP Issues Recommendations on Telemedicine in Pediatric Health Care

6/29/2015
Telemedicine can improve patients’ access to care, help fill shortages of physicians and increase communication among clinicians. But it can also lead to fragmented health care. In a new policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) makes recommendations on the use of telemedicine in children’s health care and how it will impact the pediatric workforce. The policy statement, “The Use of Telemedicine to Address Access and Physician Workforce Shortages,” is published in the July 2015 Pediatrics (published online June 29). In the statement, the AAP recommends reducing barriers to telemedicine to improve patients’ access to pediatricians and pediatric specialists. Physicians who deliver health care via telemedicine should receive equitable payment, according to the AAP. Regulatory authorities should also examine ways to overcome administrative, financial and legislative barriers to implement telemedicine, including efforts to facilitate interstate licensure so that care can be delivered across state lines to children living in underserved communities. The AAP recommends that telemedicine services should be delivered in the context of a medical home, because this model of health care provides continuity and efficiency. Virtual health care services that are provided outside of the medical home lead to a loss of continuity in care, quality of care and patient safety, according to the AAP. 

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.

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