American Medical Association Releases New Guidance on mHealth Applications That Promote Safe and Effective Patient Care

On November 16 the American Medical Association (AMA) released new guidance on mobile health applications (mHealth apps) and devices that promote safe and effective patient care.

The policy states that AMA’s efforts for coverage, payment and financial incentives will be centered around mHealth apps that do the following:

  • “Support the establishment or continuation of a valid patient-physician relationship;
  • Have a clinical evidence base to support their use in order to ensure mHealth app safety and effectiveness;
  • Follow evidence-based practice guidelines, to the degree they are available, to ensure patient safety, quality of care and positive health outcomes;
  • Support care delivery that is patient-centered, promotes care coordination and facilitates team-based communication;
  • Support data portability and interoperability in order to promote care coordination through medical home and accountable care models;
  • Abide by state licensure laws and state medical practice laws and requirements in the state in which the patient receives services facilitated by the app;
  • Require that physicians and other health practitioners delivering services through the app be licensed in the state where the patient receives services, or be providing these services as otherwise authorized by that state’s medical board; and
  • Ensure that the delivery of any services via the app be consistent with state scope of practice laws.”

The AMA has also taken several steps recently to advance digital health innovation that is patient-centered, evidence based and interoperable and outcomes focused, including partnerships and collaborations with Health 2047, MATTER, IDEA Labs, SMART project, and Omada Health.  Additionally, the AMA launched a workgroup to accelerate telehealth services into clinical practice in 2015, and adopted new guidance for the ethical practice of telemedicine earlier this year.  Most recently, the AMA has adopted a new telehealth modifier 95, which appears in Appendix P of the AMA 2017 Codebook.