Telehealth adoption has accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, signaling the need for providers to examine their malpractice risks associated with virtual care.

In a Sept. 29 op-ed for Bloomberg Law, Lindsay Lowe, a public health and healthcare law attorney at Wolfe Pincavage law firm in Miami, outlined potential medical malpractice concerns providers should be aware of when delivering telehealth services.

Six things to know:

  1. Use of telehealth platforms creates a higher risk for data breaches of the patient’s protected health information.
  2. Providers may experience challenges when examining patients via digital health platforms rather than in-person visits. This, in some cases, can lead to misdiagnosis or possible improper prescription of the patient’s medication.
  3. Software limitations or internet server glitches may also lead to diagnostic errors.
  4. Best practices to reduce medical malpractice concerns are to educate patients on what to expect during their telehealth visits and providing informed consent that outlines potential risks with the telehealth services as well as their respective security measures.
  5. Providers must also accurately document the virtual visit and keep proper patient records, which ensures patient confidentiality and standards of care are met.
  6. Providers should familiarize themselves with their state telemedicine laws because some states have specific requirements around patient medical history, written documentation, follow-up care and emergency provisions.

From Becker’s Hospital Review