American Telemedicine Association Practice Guidelines for Telestroke and Child and Adolescent Telemental Health Now Available Online
WASHINGTON – The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) today released two new practice guidelines for telestroke and child and adolescent telemental health. Both are based on clinical and empirical research and will be used as educational tools and operational references for patient care.
“The new guidelines advance the science of and growing need for telemedicine and help ensure uniform and effective quality of services for patients in need of these health-enhancing, life-saving services,” said Jonathan Linkous, CEO of ATA.
The telestroke guidelines assist practitioners in providing standardization around the assessment, diagnosis, management, and/or remote consultative support to patients exhibiting symptoms and signs consistent with an acute stroke syndrome, using telemedicine communication technologies. The document includes administrative, clinical and technical guidelines for this all-too-commonly employed use of telemedicine.
“The telestroke guidelines are the culmination of best evidence, clinical experience, and consensus amongst many experts,” said Bart M. Demaerschalk, MD, MSc, FAHA, FRCP(C), Professor of Neurology, Chair of Cerebrovascular Diseases Division, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Director of Synchronous (Telemedicine) Care, Mayo Clinic Center for Connected Care, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. “Once implemented, the guidelines will enable more patients with acute stroke to receive timely expert assessments and treatments no matter their geographic location.” Dr. Jill Berg, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN, co-chaired the development of the document alongside Demaerschalk.
The telemental health guidelines for children and adolescents provide clinical information for the delivery of mental health and behavioral services by a licensed health care provider through real-time videoconferencing. The document includes a guideline for the practice of clinical telemental health with youth, as well as additional telemental health considerations for young people and an extensive review of the evidence base.
Dr. Kathleen M. Myers, MD, MPH, MS, FAACAP, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington and Director of Telemental Health, Seattle Children's Hospital, Seattle WA stated, “As the growing need for child- and adolescent-trained behavioral health providers will not be met in the foreseeable future, telemental health offers an effective way to increase access and improve quality of behavioral/mental healthcare.”
Eve-Lynn Nelson, PhD, Director, KU Center for Telemedicine & Telehealth, Professor, School of Medicine, University of Kansas Medical Center emphasized the critical need of the practice guidelines, stating, “This is incredibly important for children, as we strive to intervene early and maximize outcomes across the child’s emotional, social, physical, and academic needs. Supported by a growing evidence-base, the child and adolescent telemental health guidelines provide a roadmap to best practices across behavioral health specialties and youth systems of care. We hope that the practice guidelines advance these programs as an important part of mainstream healthcare for children and families.”
Both guidelines were developed by a diverse working group of subject matter experts and leaders in the field. Extensive reviews and comments concerning the guidelines were received from medical societies, health systems, provider groups, healthcare companies, medical boards and government agencies.