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Hawaii PT/OT Telehealth

April 19, 2020

Emergency Orders


General Telehealth Law

HRS ยง453-1.3  Practice of telehealth.  


"Distant site" means the location of the physician delivering services through telehealth at the time the services are provided.

"Originating site" means the location where the patient is located, whether accompanied or not by a health care provider, at the time services are provided by a physician through telehealth, including but not limited to a physician's office, hospital, health care facility, a patient's home, and other non-medical environments such as school-based health centers, university-based health centers, or the work location of a patient.

"Telehealth" means the use of telecommunications as that term is defined in section 269-1, to encompass four modalities:  store and forward technologies, remote monitoring, live consultation, and mobile health; and which shall include but not be limited to real-time video conferencing-based communication, secure interactive and non-interactive web-based communication, and secure asynchronous information exchange, to transmit patient medical information, including diagnostic-quality digital images and laboratory results for medical interpretation and diagnosis, for the purposes of:  delivering enhanced health care services and information while a patient is at an originating site and the physician is at a distant site; establishing a physician-patient relationship; evaluating a patient; or treating a patient.

Telehealth services shall include a documented patient evaluation, including history and a discussion of physical symptoms adequate to establish a diagnosis and to identify underlying conditions or contraindications to the treatment recommended or provided.

Treatment recommendations made via telehealth, including issuing a prescription via electronic means, shall be held to the same standards of appropriate practice as those in traditional physician-patient settings that do not include a face-to-face visit but in which prescribing is appropriate, including on-call telephone encounters and encounters for which a follow-up visit is arranged.  Issuing a prescription based solely on an online questionnaire is not treatment for the purposes of this section and does not constitute an acceptable standard of care.  For the purposes of prescribing opiates or certifying a patient for the medical use of cannabis, a physician-patient relationship shall only be established after an in-person consultation between the prescribing physician and the patient.

All medical reports resulting from telehealth services are part of a patient's health record and shall be made available to the patient.  Patient medical records shall be maintained in compliance with all applicable state and federal requirements including privacy requirements.

A physician shall not use telehealth to establish a physician-patient relationship with a patient in this State without a license to practice medicine in Hawaii.

A physician-patient relationship may be established via telehealth if the patient is referred to the telehealth provider by another health care provider who has conducted an in-person consultation and has provided all pertinent patient information to the telehealth provider.  Once a provider-patient relationship is established, a patient or physician licensed in this State may use telehealth for any purpose, including consultation with a medical provider licensed in another state, authorized by this section or as otherwise provided by law.

The physician-patient relationship prerequisite under this section shall not apply to telehealth consultations for emergency department services.

Reimbursement for behavioral health services provided through telehealth shall be equivalent to reimbursement for the same services provided via face-to-face contact between a health care provider and a patient.

Services provided by telehealth pursuant to this chapter shall be consistent with all federal and state privacy, security, and confidentiality laws.

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