Post Date: January 12, 2018

The New Oklahoma Law about Telemedicine Expands Availability but Raises Questions

With time, telemedicine is increasingly growing in popularity as an excellent option for individuals to receive health care services. It involves an indirect meeting between patients and health caregivers. Recently, the Oklahoma Legislature has passed a new law aiming at making telemedicine more available to individuals across the state.

What is telemedicine?

Oklahoma law defined telemedicine as a means of providing healthcare, diagnosis, treatment, provision of consultation and medical education through real-time interactive communication between the patient and the physician. The services are offered after the doctor has access to and reviews the patient’s essential medical information before the telemedicine visit.

What are the requirements for telemedicine providers in Oklahoma?

The newly initiated law allows telemedicine visits between the physician and a patient in Oklahoma even if it is the first time contact as long as the telemedicine provider fulfills all the requirements of the state. Some of the requirements are;

The provider must be certified and permitted to provide the services in Oklahoma. The provider must show the license document. The provider can be in another state during the telemedicine, but the patient must be in the state of Oklahoma during the encounter.

The telemedicine healthcare providers should provide the patient with their full identity and credentials to prove that they have the required experience. On the other hand, the patients have to submit their identity and location showing that they are in Oklahoma.

The provider must have a system that fulfills all the requirements to conduct telemedicine. A system that only offers means for audio phone calls, texts messages and electronic mail are disqualified.

What restrictions are made by the new law?

The new law has brought up some restriction on telemedicine especially on some drugs such as opiates, synthetic opiates, carisoprodol or benzodiazepine. There has to be a face to face meeting between the patient and the physician for the provider to prescribe such drugs. However, opioid antagonists and partial agonists can be prescribed without a prior face to face encounter between the two parties.

This new law does not specify who else is allowed to provide telemedicine services other than medical or osteopathic doctors. This way, although the law is expanding the availability of telemedicine across Oklahoma, it has left people with some unanswered questions.