With doctor shortages looming and a lack of specialized physicians in rural locations, the whole country is adopting Telemedicine software. Telemedicine is commonly defined as the “use of audio, video, or other electronic media for the purpose of diagnosis, consultation, or treatment.” You will notice that the definition excludes the use of audio-only telephone or facsimile. New Hampshire, being a pioneer of the new Telemedicine law, now allows a physician to establish a valid doctor-patient relationship with no in-person exam needed. And that’s only one of the barriers to growth being removed for New Hampshire’s Telemedicine providers and businesses. Studies continue to show how Telemedicine provides high quality, cost-effective care, while simultaneously eliminating travel time and increasing access for those with physical and mental health needs.
Here are some of the ways in which telehealth offerings will now be redefined and even improved due to the New Hampshire Telemedicine law:
1. Establishing provider-patient relationships. While in-person exams may become obsolete, a method of interactive communication is still preferred when telemedicine is being offered and administered in New Hampshire. That is, doctors should be able to establish a two-way, face-to-face, interaction so they may carry out an exam, diagnosis, treatment and documentation of prescriptions and dosage information. Companies are already coming up with ways to incorporate reliable and user-friendly communication tools in their practice.
2. Remote prescriptions. Just as medical advice and diagnosis will be delivered through telemedicine, so will prescriptions and drug administration instructions. Physicians will now be in close contact with pharmacies, labs and other post-consultation services in order to carry out remote prescribing that meets the current standards of practice.
3. Maintaining patient medical records. When appropriate, medical records will be easily transferred and shared with the patient’s consent, to a primary care or treating provider.
4. New care processes and protocols for treatment. Telemedicine will allow practitioners to carry out a consistent standard of care across interactions with each patient.
5. Explore controlled substance telepsychiatry. To limit the over-prescription of controlled substances, or “doctor shopping”, the prescribing of these drugs in New Hampshire still requires annual in-person examinations.