OK Telemedicine

Updated on May 6, 2020.  Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer

What Does Oklahoma Count as Telemedicine?

Oklahoma allows virtual physician approvals for medical marijuana. The state defines telemedicine in Title 59, Section 478 of the Oklahoma Statutes. According to this section, telemedicine includes interactive, two-way communication involving:

  • Healthcare delivery
  • Treatment
  • Consultation
  • Evaluation
  • Health education
  • Medical data transfer

Store and forward technologies, or technology where the patient sends data to the doctor, also count as telemedicine. But, a doctor can’t conduct telemedicine services via phone, email, fax, IM, website form or a nonsecure video call.

Facts About Oklahoma Telemedicine Services

In Oklahoma, the telemedicine service legislation is as follows:

  • Oklahoma has a statewide telemedicine network in ongoing development. This network manages telehealth throughout the state. It finds ways to make it easier for medical professionals to offer telemedicine to their patients.
  • Not-for-profit hospitals, county or city-county health departments, not-for-profit mental health and substance abuse facilities and federally qualified health centers all receive a free telecommunications line from the state.
  • You may receive telemedicine services from a provider located outside of Oklahoma. They must follow the healthcare and telehealth requirements in their location.

Benefits of Telemedicine

A few benefits of telemedicine include:

  • Accessibility: The conditions that respond to medical marijuana can make it difficult to travel to a doctor’s office. Homebound patients can use telemedicine to get healthcare services just as easily as patients who can travel. In remote and rural locations, patients may not have a physician in the area willing to recommend cannabis medicine to them. These patients can find an understanding doctor without taking a long trip.
  • Lower Costs: Telemedicine’s remote nature often allows patients to pay less for their appointments. Nonemergency telehealth appointments cost $45 on average, while in-person visits cost an average of $100. You also don’t have to pay the travel costs associated with visiting your doctor.
  • Efficiency: When you use telemedicine, you don’t have to wait in traffic or a waiting room. Multiple doctors can join your telehealth video call, eliminating the need for more than one visit. Your doctor’s practice will have more time and resources freed to give higher quality care to all their patients.

Can I Get Medical Marijuana Treatment Through Telemedicine?

According to the OMMA, an Oklahoma-licensed physician can issue a recommendation to their patient if they have a bonafide physician-patient relationship with them. Telemedicine laws used to require an in-person examination to establish this relationship. But, doctors can now do so using telemedicine under certain requirements.

During the first appointment, they have to have a licensed practitioner at the location you receive the call. They will use relevant equipment to examine you. Your doctor can send the examiner to your home or ask you to visit a location in your area.

After this initial appointment, you don’t have to receive ongoing care from your doctor. So, you can wait until your license expires in two years to have another appointment. You may have this renewal appointment using telemedicine without equipment if your doctor allows it. However, having follow-up telemedicine visits with your doctor in-person allows them to assist in monitoring your symptoms and side effects.

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