Expert Consensus Recommendations for Videoconferencing-Based Telepresenting

Expert Consensus Recommendations for Videoconferencing-Based Telepresenting (October 2011)
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New challenges and opportunities for the provider have been created by the expansion of communication technologies and new health care delivery models, as a means to enhance delivery of health care. The use of telemedicine/telehealth has extended the reach of the provider, but also may create situations in which assistance is needed in facilitating clinical data transfer from the remote patient setting. A telepresenter (presenter) is frequently used, although not always required, to address the challenges that the consulting provider faces when conducting a physical examination using telemedicine and to ensure efficient information exchange. The presenter is an individual, located at the patient remote site that provides support to the patient and the telemedicine consulting provider, in completing the physical examination and/or telemedicine activity.

The role of presenter will continue to evolve as telemedicine and technology advance, however, presenters are frequently employed to assist with real-time, interactive videoconferencing based consultations between a health care provider and a patient. Presenters may include licensed professionals, parents, spouses, or allied health professionals, depending upon resources within the community and the expertise required to achieve an adequate portrayal of the patient’s mental and physical condition. Requirements for a presenter vary widely, based upon the specific patient care settings, the clinical specialty, and expertise of the telemedicine providers. The most qualified telepresenter may in reality, be a lay individual in a community trained in the use of telemedicine technology and who is able to assist the patient. In addition, the evaluating provider must be skilled in leveraging the telemedicine resources to guide the remote assessment and obtain necessary information for determining diagnoses, treatments, and/or care directives.

This expert opinion consensus document focuses on interactive videoconferencing-based telepresenting for health care professionals who are competent in skills and knowledge required to assist the remote provider, and serves as a guide for health professionals engaging lay presenters, such as family members. The purpose of this document is to define the requirements for serving as a telepresenter, as well as identifying key points to be considered throughout the process of telepresenting. The document is divided into administrative, technical, and clinical domains.

Telemedicine has transformed the delivery of healthcare, yet, successful use of technology is dependent upon efficient information exchange. It is the presenter who supports communication and physical requirements of both the patient and evaluating provider throughout the tele-encounter process.