A proposal which has reached the state Senate floor would allow nurse practitioners to practice telemedicine in South Carolina.
Telemedicine is the use of telecommunications and information technology to provide clinical health care from a distance.
State Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, said the proposal would expand the practice beyond just doctors. “This would codify and permit nurse practitioners, advanced practice nurses and physicians assistants to similarly practice telemedicine,” he said at last week’s Medical Affairs Committee meeting. The committee voted Thursday to send the proposal to the floor.
Doctors in South Carolina can already utilize telemedicine. “We recently amended the law to permit physicians to practice telemedicine,” said Davis.
The proposal would not expand the area of work for the new group of professionals that would be allowed to do telemedicine, but would allow them to continue diagnosing and treating patients from a distance “That within that scope of practice framework, nurses are permitted to engage in telemedicine, but it doesn’t in of itself enlarge what they’re able to do,” Davis said.
Telemedicine has been used to overcome distance barriers and to improve access to medical services which are often not consistently available in rural communities.