Telemedicine and Liability for Medical Errors
Although the use of telemedicine as a way to diagnose and treat illnesses existed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, its use as an alternative to visiting doctor’s offices or hospitals has skyrocketed in recent months. However, providing treatment in the absence of a healthcare professional’s physical presence does come with its own risks. Fortunately, doctors are still held to the same legal duty, regardless of whether they use remote methods of providing medical services or conduct in-person evaluations, so if your use of telemedicine led to a preventable injury or illness, you should contact a Florida medical malpractice lawyer who can help you determine whether you have grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is the use of electronic information and telecommunications services, including interactive media like video conferencing, to support:
- Long-distance medical services;
- Public health initiatives;
- The communication of patient-provider medical information; and
- Administrative or healthcare services.
While providing these services online may look different than in-person patient-physician encounters, medical professionals are still required to use the same level of care in diagnosing and treating patients, meaning that they can be held liable if their failure to do so results in an injury.
Healthcare Practitioner Responsibilities
While healthcare practitioners are allowed to diagnose and consult with patients and even deliver specific kinds of medical care via telemedicine, they cannot do so when the consultation only involves the use of audio, email messages, or faxes. Instead, in order to comply with federal regulations, a healthcare professional will need to:
- Interact with the patient through an online portal from a computer in a workplace environment; and
- Converse through a live audio-video conference.
Physicians and other healthcare professionals who fail to abide by these rules when dispensing medical diagnoses, conducting consultations, and ordering treatments have a much higher risk of misdiagnosing patients, offering treatments and prescriptions that aren’t in line with medically accepted standards, or making other serious medical errors. These mistakes can have devastating consequences for patients, whose conditions could worsen due to a lack of treatment, or who could suffer the side effects of being prescribed the wrong treatment or medication.
While recovering compensation for these types of mistakes is possible, it can be difficult, especially when a consultation or appointment was conducted remotely. For this reason, it is particularly important for those who have been injured as a result of a telemedicine-related medical error, to reach out to a lawyer who can investigate their case and begin compiling evidence of medical malpractice.
Call Today to Speak with an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you suffered an injury as a result of a healthcare professional’s mistake when using telemedicine services, please contact the Fort Lauderdale medical malpractice lawyers at Boone & Davis. A member of our legal team will be happy to help you schedule a free consultation, so please don’t hesitate to call our office at 954-566-9919 or to complete and submit one of our online contact forms today.