CHICAGO — Recognizing that formalized training in telemedicine is not widely offered to physicians-in-training, the American Medical Association (AMA) today adopted policy during its Annual Meeting aimed at ensuring medical students and residents learn how to use telemedicine in clinical practice. The new policy specifically encourages the accrediting bodies for both undergraduate and graduate medical education to include core competencies for telemedicine in their programs. The new policy also reaffirms existing AMA policy, which supports reducing barriers to incorporating the appropriate use of telemedicine into the education of physicians.

"The vast majority of medical students are not being taught how to use technologies such as telemedicine or electronic health records during medical school and residency. As innovation in care delivery and technology continue to transform healthcare, we must ensure that our current and future physicians have the tools and resources they need to provide the best possible care for their patients," said AMA Immediate Past President Robert M. Wah, M.D. "In particular, exposure to and evidence-based instruction in telemedicine's capabilities and limitations at all levels of physician education will be essential to harnessing its potential."

Today's policy action extends the AMA's ongoing work with 32 of the nation's leading medical schools to create the medical school of the future. As part of the AMA Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium, the 32 schools are working together through a learning community to incorporate the newest technologies that will help prepare future physicians to practice in the changing health care environment and better provide health care services to underserved populations.

Several of the schools are developing and implementing innovative projects focused on technology. For example, Indiana University School of Medicine created a teaching electronic health record (EHR) using de-identified data to ensure medical students have access to EHRs during their medical training, which is now being implemented in other medical schools. Additionally, the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences is using advanced simulation and telemedicine technologies to help students develop skills specific to the needs of rural or remote communities.

The AMA launched its Accelerating Change in Medical Education initiative in 2013 to bridge the gaps that exist between how medical students are trained and how healthcare is delivered. The AMA has since awarded $12.5 million in grants to 32 medical schools to develop innovative curricula that can ultimately be implemented in medical schools across the country. These innovative models are already supporting training for an estimated 19,000 medical students who will one day care for 33 million patients each year.

The AMA's initiative is also supporting medical school projects aimed at accelerating student progression through medical school, allowing them to enter residency sooner and contribute more rapidly to expanding the physician workforce.

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About the American Medical Association

The American Medical Association is the physicians’ powerful ally in patient care. As the only medical association that convenes 190+ state and specialty medical societies and other critical stakeholders, the AMA represents physicians with a unified voice to all key players in health care.  The AMA leverages its strength by removing the obstacles that interfere with patient care, leading the charge to prevent chronic disease and confront public health crises and, driving the future of medicine to tackle the biggest challenges in health care.