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AMA Adopts Updated Code of Medical Ethics, Ethical Guidance for Telemedicine

In two actions June 13 during its Annual Meeting in Chicago, the American Medical Association:

Adopted a modernized Code of Medical Ethics. Guided by an open and collaborative process that incorporated substantial invited feedback from the medical community, the modernization project accomplished three primary objectives:

  1. * To improve relevance, the Code has language that applies to contemporary medical practice.
  2. * To improve clarity, the Code has an improved structure and formatting to ensure that foundational ethical principles and specific physician responsibilities are easy to find, read and apply.
  3. * To improve consistency, the Code has harmonized guidance that consolidates related issues into a single, comprehensive statement.


Adopted guidance for ethical practice in telemedicine. The evolution of telehealth and telemedicine capabilities offers increasingly sophisticated ways to conduct patient evaluations as technologies for obtaining patient information remotely continue to evolve and improve. The AMA guidelines permit physicians utilizing telehealth and telemedicine technology to exercise discretion in conducting a diagnostic evaluation and prescribing therapy, within certain safeguards. “Physicians who provide clinical services through telemedicine must recognize the limitation of the relevant technologies and take appropriate steps to overcome those limitations,” said AMA Board Member Jack Resneck, MD. “What matters is that physicians have access to the relevant information they need to make well-grounded recommendations for each patient.”

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