The report noted that "while many definitions are similar, there are nuanced differences that reflect each organization's legislative intent and the population they serve." It added that "these definitions affect how telemedicine has been or is being applied across the healthcare landscape" and concluded that "a common nomenclature for defining telemedicine may benefit efforts to advance the use of this technology to address the changing nature of healthcare and new demands for services expected as a result of health reform."
Template for other states
Rather than waiting for CMS to establish policy for telemedicine, individual states are taking the initiative by adopting laws that make it easier to form telemedicine programs.
California is often used as a template for other states to follow. In 2011, state legislators approved the California Telehealth Advancement Act, which paved the way for telemedicine by defining remote consults in the same terms as face-to-face visits with physicians to make it easier for insurers to compensate participants.
The Act also allowed the state to compensate providers who used telemedicine programs that employed store-and-forward technology. As a state with 36 million people and a large percentage of residents who live in rural areas, California had a greater need for telemedicine services than most states and acted accordingly.