Module C: Ethics in Telecare

CE Credits: 1.5

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This module examines both the benefits and potential drawbacks of telemedicine, which is defined as the real-time communication between patients and healthcare providers via videoconference, telephone or a home health monitoring device. After detailing the different kinds of scenarios in which telecare is useful—such as home monitoring of a patient who has been readmitted to the hospital several times—the module explores the ethical problems that may arise, such as privacy issues related to HIPAA. Then, using a number of case studies, the module looks at how telecare can bring about life-saving interventions, but still fall short in other ways, such as with patients who miss the reassurance of in-person appointments.

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Learning objectives: After completing this module the case manager will be able to:
» Define telemedicine and telehealth and what it encompasses
» Discuss ethical professional standards unique to telehealth and telemedicine
» Describe the Health Information Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) and other regulations
» Review ethical practice in the delivery of patient monitoring and remote interventions

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Advance your professional practice:: Telemedicine can be useful for CMs to monitor patients who need ongoing contact, or who cannot travel for an office visit. By understanding both the strengths and weakness of this approach, we can find the right balance to help our patients without depersonalizing our service.

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Improve organizational performance: Hospital readmissions are bad for patients and strain hospital resources. If telemedicine can help teams track patients and prevent readmission, everyone benefits. Our challenge, however, is to use the practice responsibly, without compromising the patient’s privacy or quality of care.