CHICAGO — Expanding on its efforts to help physicians use technology to extend patient care beyond the walls of the medical office, the American Medical Association (AMA) today updated its Digital Health Implementation Playbook Series to include a new physician guide for implementing real-time audio and visual visits between a clinician and a patient.

“For medical practices and health systems looking to integrate telemedicine as quickly as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Playbook series not only offers a clear and efficient path to scaled implementation, but also access to institutional knowledge and best practices curated from experts in the field,” said AMA Chair Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, M.D., M.P.H. “The AMA is committed to making technology an asset, not a time-consuming burden, and the Playbook’s roadmap offers a proven course to telemedicine implementation when physicians need it most."

The use of telemedicine and remote care services are critical to the safe management of the COVID-19 pandemic, while also ensuring uninterrupted care for 100 million Americans with chronic conditions. The AMA strongly encourages the adoption of telemedicine to support physical (social) distancing measures and help ensure the availability of care to those who need it.

Telehealth usage had doubled from 2016 to 2019 when AMA research saw it increase from 14% to 28% respectively. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to leverage telemedicine has surged as an essential tool to keep patients and health care workers safe.

Each Playbook in the series is designed to provide a helpful 12-step process to guide the implementation of a digital health solution. The first six steps in this Playbook are fundamental to the planning of a telehealth program—identifying a need, forming a team, defining success, evaluating vendors, making the case, and contracting. The subsequent six steps focus on specific details for implementing a telehealth program—designing the workflow, preparing the care team, partnering with the patient, launching the program, evaluating success, and scaling the program.

The telehealth addition to the Playbook series joins the implementation guide for remote patient monitoring (RPM) that help physicians use devices, trackers and sensors to capture and record patient generated health data outside of the traditional clinical environment. RPM provides clinicians the opportunity to apply patient generated health data to improve the management of chronic disease and engage patients in their own care.

The AMA is grateful to more than 140 physicians, care team members, health care administrators, patients and digital health thought leaders who contributed their expertise and input to the Playbook to help the medical community adopt change faster and more successfully.

Through its ongoing leadership, the AMA is shaping and supporting digital health innovation and bringing the physician voice into the innovation space to share ideas, expertise and real-world perspective on the effectiveness of technology in medical practice settings. From revitalizing medical practices to ensuring that evidence-based digital health technology helps provide high-quality patient care, the AMA is striving to help physicians navigate and succeed in a continually evolving health care environment.

Media Contact:

Robert J. Mills

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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.