The rapid growth of telemedicine has changed healthcare service delivery. It provides accessible and convenient medical consultations.
However, this advancement leads to concerns over how telemedicine could impact medical malpractice.
Changes in communication
Every year, medical misdiagnoses cause conditions that kill or disable nearly 800,000 people, according to U.S. News. Inaccurate information and poor communication can play a role in these misdiagnoses. Telemedicine requires electronic communication. It alters the traditional doctor-patient interaction. The shift from in-person visits to virtual encounters may affect the quality and accuracy of information exchanged.
Because patients are not physically present during telemedicine consultations, accurate diagnoses are problematic. Physicians may find it difficult to assess physical symptoms. They cannot conduct full examinations on video calls. This may lead to misdiagnoses or delayed treatments.
Telemedicine is convenient. However, technical glitches can affect the smooth flow of consultations. Patients may have difficulty connecting to the doctor and software errors. They may also not understand the technology they need to use. These challenges may lead to misunderstandings or incomplete medical information sharing.
Obtaining informed consent is an important aspect of medical practice. Patients may not understand the risks and benefits of treatments when they talk with their physicians over video calls. The potential for miscommunication or lack of clarity in virtual settings may impact the validity of informed consent.
Documentation and record-keeping
Accurate and thorough documentation is paramount in healthcare. It ensures continuity of care and legal compliance. Telemedicine makes maintaining comprehensive and organized electronic health records challenging. This increases the likelihood of oversights or discrepancies that could contribute to medical malpractice claims.
The evolving landscape of telemedicine raises questions about the applicability of existing medical malpractice laws. Courts may need to address the unique issues of virtual healthcare.