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Alan Roga, M.D., is senior vice president and general manager for the provider market for Teladoc Inc., one of the biggest telemedicine providers in the world. He is an emergency medicine physician and fellow of the American College of Emergency Medicine. In this SearchHealthIT interview, Roga explains telemedice best practices.
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What can telemedicine technology and services companies do to gain wider public acceptance, more regulatory approval and greater adoption of telemedicine, and what are some telemedicine best practices?
Alan Roga: Make sure you're providing outstanding patient care that's safe and effective. Make sure it has peer review, is involved with credentialing commissions and has quality assurance. Every provider should have a program to make sure their services are at or above [basic medical care standards]. Companies have to be ensuring that they're practicing good, sound medicine. That's number one. As companies mature, that will become part of established [telemedicine best practices] and standards. Physicians also should definitely have a professional attitude, such as using good lighting [for videoconferenced telehealth visits].
In light of the reluctance of some states, such as Texas, to fully approve telemedicine, what's your view of the status of acceptance of telemedicine systems and services across the country? And how do telemedicine advocates overcome some physicians' fears that telemedicine will cut into their business?
Roga: Texas has a somewhat unique medical board. We're working not only with the board, but also the legislature there. Why is telemedicine accepted in other states? It doesn't make a lot of sense. Generally, telemedicine is accepted across the country. Most of the states have passed regulatory guidelines, and the direction is significantly positive. Telemedicine is an established practice of care. Business organizations and local medical associations can work with physicians to show them how telemedicine can be a great additional tool for practices. Telemedicine can also ensure that patients have access to great care 24/7. This should not be adversarial.
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