As a healthcare and business law firm, we work with may healthcare providers and employers who wish to integrate telehealth into their business models and, understandably, have questions. What is telehealth versus telemedicine? What laws and rules govern the practice of telemedicine? Has COVID-19 impacted telemedicine? Etc. This post intends to outline some of the rules and laws relevant to practitioners, including the impact of HB 307 on telehealth in Georgia. If you have questions regarding this blog post or telehealth, you may contact us at (404) 685-1662 (Atlanta) or (706) 722-7886 (Augusta), or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
As an initial matter, telehealth and telemedicine are distinct terms. Telemedicine is a subset of telehealth. The definitions of both are found within Georgia’s insurance code. Telehealth is defined as “the use of information and communications technologies, including, but not limited to, telephones, remote patient monitoring devices or other electronic means which support clinical health care, provider consultation, patient and professional health related education, public health, and health administration.” O.C.G.A. § 33-24-56.4(b)(6). “Telemedicine” is defined as:
[A] form of telehealth which is the delivery of clinical health care services by means of real time two-way audio, visual, or other telecommunications or electronic communications, including the application of secure video conferencing or store and forward transfer technology to provide or support health care delivery, which facilitate the assessment, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management, and self-management of a patient’s health care by a health care provider practicing within his or her scope of practice as would be practiced in-person with a patient, and legally allowed to practice in this state, while such patient is at an originating site and the health care provider is at a distant site.