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United States Medicolegal Progress and Innovation in Telemedicine in the Age of COVID-19: A Primer for Neurosurgeons


United States Medicolegal Progress and Innovation in Telemedicine in the Age of COVID-19: A Primer for Neurosurgeons

Neurosurgery. 2021 Jun 16:nyab185. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyab185. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

Telemedicine has received increased attention in recent years as a potential solution to expand clinical capability and patient access to care in many fields, including neurosurgery. Although patient and physician attitudes are rapidly shifting toward greater telemedicine use in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, there remains uncertainty about telemedicine’s regulatory future. Despite growing evidence of telemedicine’s utility, there remain a number of significant medicolegal barriers to its mass adoption and wider implementation. Herein, we examine recent progress in state and federal regulations in the United States governing telemedicine’s implementation in quality of care, finance and billing, privacy and confidentiality, risk and liability, and geography and interstate licensure, with special attention to how these concern teleneurosurgical practice. We also review contemporary topics germane to the future of teleneurosurgery, including the continued expansion of reciprocity in interstate licensure, expanded coverage for homecare services for chronic conditions, expansion of Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services reimbursements, and protections of store-and-forward technologies. Additionally, we discuss recent successes in teleneurosurgery, stroke care, and rehabilitation as models for teleneurosurgical best practices. As telemedicine technology continues to mature and its expanse grows, neurosurgeons’ familiarity with its benefits, limitations, and controversies will best allow for its successful adoption in our field to maximize patient care and outcomes.

PMID:34133724 | DOI:10.1093/neuros/nyab185

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