Texas Legislative Issues/News: One of the bills that the Texas Legislature passed in the last regular session legalized the practice of telemedicine. When the law takes effect, a Texas will be able to consult with a health care professional via a smartphone or two-way video computer connection. Now doctors can treat patients without actually seeing them personally so long as certain conditions are met, such as required medical records and tests, according to the Dallas News.
The people who will most greatly benefit from access to telemedicine are those who live in rural areas without easy access to a doctor, especially specialists, who may reside many miles away. Telemedicine could be used by primary care physicians to consult with specialists without having patients arrange for separate visits.
Telemedicine could also be used for follow-up visits after a procedure is performed. The technology is not mandated nor is it meant to entirely replace face-to-face doctor visits.
The technology is in its infancy. Some researchers envision a time when people will have implantable sensing devices that will send medical data to their doctors in real time, warning of any impending condition as well as monitoring the progress of treatments, such as drugs to control blood pressure and cholesterol. Some envision “smart pill boxes” that will ensure that people are taking their prescribed medication.
In the meantime, Texans can now see the doctor from the comfort of their homes and offices when the occasion arises. Attorney Jake Posey noted Texas is the last state in the US to allow the practice of telemedicine.