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Provision of Nursing Services by Telehealth/Electronic Means

Questions and responses provided by the Board regarding provision of nursing services by electronic transmission are provided below:

What is Telehealth?

According to the American Telemedicine Association, telehealth nursing is defined as “the use of telehealth/telemedicine technology to deliver nursing care and conduct nursing practice… Nurses in all settings who employ telecommunications and health technologies, such as audio, video, or data integrated into their existing practice are providing telehealth nursing”.

What are the nurse licensure requirements for an RN handling telephone calls for patients calling from or residing in Iowa?

In keeping with 655 IAC 3.2(1), nurses who respond to telephone calls from patients calling from Iowa shall have a current Iowa license, whether or not the employer is in Iowa or whether or not the person receives compensation.

Does the provision of nursing service by electronic transmission constitute the practice of nursing?

Yes, the delivery of nursing services by telephone or any other electronic means constitutes the practice of nursing.

Is the provision of nursing by electronic means included in the definition of “patient care” as utilized in IAC 655 3.2(1)?

When the nurse uses electronic means to gather information from a client and gives advice based on assessment of the client, that is the practice of nursing and is the provision of patient care. In fact, the accountability in this type of situation is just as great, if not greater, than in some situations in which the nurse is providing direct physical care.

A patient resides in Iowa and is a patient of a local physician. The patient travels outside of Iowa and calls into their local physician’s office/clinic or a 24 hour nurse call center. Can the RN working in the physician’s office/clinic or 24 hour call center answer the patient’s questions or give advice to the patient?

Yes, the RN must have a current Iowa license and must practice within the guidelines of the Iowa Administrative Code. Also it is important to note that the patient must be in transit and not residing in another state.

Patient resides outside of Iowa and calls into the Iowa based physician’s office/clinic or 24 hour nurse call center. Can the RN working in the physician’s office/clinic or 24 hour nurse call center answer the patient’s questions or give advice to the patient?

If the state in which the patient is calling from is a member of the nurse licensure compact agreement, YES. This decision is based on where the patient is located at the time care is rendered.

Additional information about the Nurse Licensure Compact can be accessed using the following weblink: https://www.ncsbn.org/34.htm

2/2015