Background: The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) Standards and Guidelines Committee develops practice standards and guidelines. Key to the Committee's mission is dissemination so the standards can be used in the practice of telemedicine. Over a 2-year period, when a standards document was accessed from the ATA Web site, a short survey was completed, but it did not assess how the documents were used once downloaded. A more formal survey was conducted to determine the impact ATA standards and guidelines are having on healthcare delivery via telemedicine. Materials and Methods: A survey was developed and distributed via SurveyMonkey to 13,177 ATA members and nonmembers in November 2011. Results were compiled and analyzed after a 90-day open period for responses to be submitted. Results: The majority of respondents (96%) believe the practice of telemedicine/telehealth should have standards and guidelines and that the ATA and other professional societies/associations should be responsible for developing them. The top uses of guidelines include guidance for clinical practice, training, gaining reimbursement, and research. Respondents indicating a need for standards and guidelines said the ATA (78.7%) and other professional societies/associations (74.5%) should be responsible for development. When asked to list specific practice guidelines or standards they are using for telehealth, the majority (21.5%) are using in-house (e.g., hospital, company)-developed guidelines, followed by those from professional associations/societies (20.4%) and those developed by the ATA (18.2%). Conclusions: Overall, the survey results indicate guidelines documents developed by the ATA and other professional societies and those developed in-house are being regularly accessed and used in both public and private sectors. Practitioners of telemedicine believe that standards and guidelines are needed for guidance for clinical practice, training, gaining reimbursement, and research, and they are to use those developed by professional organization such as the ATA as well as those developed by their own institutions.
- American Telemedicine Association
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics
- Health Information Management