Telemedicine

Federal Air Surgeon Allows Telemedicine

On July 15, 2020, the Federal Air Surgeon’s office issued a directive from Dr. Berry that allows telemedicine appointments for first-time FAA psychiatric evaluations. In March, Dr. Berry allowed telemedicine appointments for followup visits, after at least one in-person visit. Before March, all visits with a HIMS psychiatrist had to occur in a doctor’s office.

The standards have been flexed because of the coronavirus and to minimize unnecessary travel of the pilot.

PROS AND CONS OF TELEMEDICINE

  • PRO: Telemedicine reduces the risk of coronavirus exposure to the pilot and the psychiatrist.

  • CON: The FAA has established telemedicine as a temporary and acceptable solution while asserting that an in-office visit with a psychiatrist remains the gold standard.
  • CON: Some evaluations require the psychiatrist’s head-to-toe observation of the patient, which you cannot do by telemedicine.

Preparing for a Telemedicine Appointment

  • You should not schedule a telemedicine appointment until you and I have discussed the advantages and disadvantages of telemedicine with your case. You can call me at 720 399 9620 or email gregkirk@avipsy.org.
  • Your doctor has to be licensed in the state where you are located.
  • Dr. Kirk is licensed in Colorado, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona.
  • You must be within the boundary of one of the four to do a telemedicine appointment with me.
  • If not at your own home, you could be at a friend’s house, hotel, or business center. Something like that.
  • You must have a private space where you will be uninterrupted and able to speak about confidential issues for up to four hours.
  • You must have broadband internet allowing at least 3.2 Mbps upload and download. Not sure how fast your internet is? Check your bandwidth by clicking the speedo.
  • You can use a desktop computer, laptop computer, or a tablet. Phones are not preferred!
  • It’s best to access the internet using a wired Ethernet connection. WiFi should work, too, as long as you are close to the router and you do not have channel interference.
  • You should not use a cellular hotspot, even if the connection speed tests at higher than 3.2 Mbps.
  • If using a desktop or laptop, you don’t need any special software. You will access the meeting using a secure, HIPAA compliant link that will open in any browser.
  • If using a tablet, you should download, install, and test the Google Meet app for your platform

SCHEDULE A TELEMEDICINE APPOINTMENT