Telemedicine: Is it safe?

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With the digital boom, the concept of telemedicine has made a big impact on the way that patients receive healthcare from doctors and other medical professionals. The practice centers on the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients’ conditions via means of electronic communications technology, such as emails, videos, smart phones, and other Internet tools. While telemedicine certainly offers convenience, the practice poses dangers for patients, too.If you’ve been harmed due to medical errors made via telecommunication, seek legal counsel from Boston Medical Malpractice Lawyer Douglas Lovenberg today.

A Lack of a Physical Examination

One of the most pressing arguments against telemedicine is that it fails to provide patients with the ability to receive a physical examination, a procedure that can be essential to catching certain diseases early, and is key to properly diagnosing a number of conditions. A physical examination is a critical part of medical care, and removing it from the equation is a nonsensical idea.

No Accountability

Another problem posed by telemedicine is the fact that there is little-to-no accountability for telemedicine systems. For example, suppose a patient is suffering from abdominal pain in the middle of the night. The patient calls his doctor via telecommunication, but the telecommunication system fails to properly connect. As such, the question of who’s now responsible for the patient’s care (who’s liable for the failed technology? Who should the doctor call? What’s the expected response time) is brought into light.

Another issue that focuses on physician accountability and telemedicine is this: because care is given from a remote location, a patient may seek the services of a medical professional outside of Massachusetts. I.e., a patient in Boston may consult with a doctor in New York. However, the New York doctor may not be subject to Massachusetts’ licensing requirements, and may not be held liable in a medical malpractice suit for damages due to the state line boundary.

The Benefits of Telemedicine

While telemedicine doesn’t offer high levels of accountability and cannot provide a patient with a critical physical examination, it’s not all bad. The American Telemedicine Association argues that the practice allows physicians to monitor patients remotely, provides continuing medical education, allows for quick specialist referrals, and helps patients in collecting medical and health information. While the benefits should certainly be acknowledged, the system is not perfect, and for many patients, the risks of telemedicine may outweigh the advantages.

Telemedicine Errors Subject to Medical Malpractice Claims – Contact an Attorney Today

The room for error when a doctor cannot interact with a patient in-person is high. If you have been the victim of a serious medical error via telemedicine that lead to further complications, then you still have the right to file a medical malpractice claim for damages. At Lovenberg & Associates, P.C., our attorneys can walk you through medical malpractice law, and explain how it applies to telemedicine.

Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit can be an intimidating process. To make sure you’re not facing a doctor or hospital’s attorneys on your own, our lawyers will provide you with the legal support and advocacy you need. Reach us today at 617-973-9950 to schedule your free case consultation now.

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