Telehealth services have surged during the pandemic, due in part to loosening of federal restrictions. However, Lindsay Lowe, an attorney with Wolfe Pinkavage, says health-care providers need to be aware of malpractice risks associated with telemedicine and suggests steps to reduce liability.
Health-care providers are always susceptible to the risk of committing medical malpractice, but the rise in the use of telehealth services during the pandemic opens the door to unique concerns as providers rely on data, documents, images, and other information provided by the patient.
Providers may be held liable for breaching the standard of care if patients are harmed during telehealth visits, due to the provider’s negligent act or omission, miscommunication, misdiagnosis, software malfunctions or other technologically-based risks that threaten the patient’s welfare.
Generally, medical malpractice concerns arise where providers breach the standard of care owed to the patient and cause harm to the patient. Providers are bound by certain standards based on the patient’s health condition and treatment. These standards are recognized within the profession as being acceptable medical treatment provided by reasonably prudent health care professionals under like or similar circumstances. Whether care is rendered in-office, via telephone or web platform, providers owe a duty to their patients that must be met to protect and prevent against any form of malpractice.
Harm to patients may include disability, loss of income, unusual pain, suffering and hardship, or significant past and future medical bills. In consequence, providers could face civil or criminal liability due to medical malpractice, which may include revocation of the physician’s license, suspension of the physician’s practice of medicine, monetary penalties, or imprisonment.
From BloomBerg Law