Ethical Use of Telehealth in Emergency Care

Revised January 2022 with current title
riginally approved June 2016 titled "Ethical Use of Telemedicine in Emergency Care"


Telehealth as related to emergency medical care uses real-time audio or video transmissions to provide information, advice and orders for diagnostic and treatment interventions between a distant site (eg, healthcare facility, ambulance, ship, airplane, rescue location) and an emergency department or its telecommunication hub. Practitioners use telehealth to assess patients and their diagnostic results, monitor ongoing clinical interventions, and interact with the patient’s on-site clinicians.

  1. ACEP believes that emergency departments using telehealth should make this form of care accessible regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, location, or ability to pay.
  2. ACEP believes that emergency departments and hospitals should ensure that their telehealth systems and practices provide patients with at least the privacy and confidentiality required under federal HIPAA regulations. This includes assuring that their equipment and technology are up-to-date and secure.
  3. ACEP believes that telehealth decisions relating to patient care, referrals and transfers should be based on the patient's healthcare needs.
  4. ACEP supports the establishment of standards for telehealth practitioners and development of related quality assurance and educational programs to develop the discipline.
  5. ACEP supports legislative efforts that would allow for single-state licensing being sufficient for telehealth practice throughout the United States.
  6. ACEP believes that telehealth consultations of emergency physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants with patients or their surrogates are subject to the same informed consent and refusal standards as are face-to-face medical encounters.

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