One of the many seismic changes the COVID-19 pandemic brought to the healthcare industry is the rapid use of telemedicine services. While telemedicine can benefit patients and doctors, it could also be the reason for substantial errors that could lead to a lawsuit. We’ll discuss some of these errors and situations below.
While misdiagnosis errors aren’t strictly confined to telemedicine, it’s still the primary concern for healthcare providers and professionals who offer telemedicine services. Telemedicine is convenient for many providers and patients, but an examination over a video call still isn’t as thorough as a physical examination.
Misdiagnosis is one of the most costly errors that could lead to a lawsuit, and telemedicine is not immune to the risk. When making a diagnosis and treatment plans, it’s always better for the doctor to be in the room with the patient instead of conducting a visual examination.
Similar to a misdiagnosis, prescription errors in telemedicine can quickly result in malpractice suits. Prescription errors can come in many forms—the patient has been prescribed the wrong dosage or the wrong medication, or a human error in miscommunication mixed up prescriptions.
While telemedicine may provide patients with more access to doctors, a communication barrier can always cause issues, particularly with prescriptions. When prescribing powerful medication for severe illnesses, it’s always best for the doctor to meet the patient face-to-face.
Doctor-patient confidentiality is a crucial principle for healthcare providers—patients must trust their providers to protect their sensitive health information from data thieves. While telemedicine is often secure, it offers another opportunity for data thieves to steal information.
All healthcare providers who offer telemedicine services must use HIPAA-compliant video conferences and data services for any video examinations or discussions regarding patient information. If a healthcare provider accidentally leaks patient information or it’s stolen due to incompetent telemedicine services, they could be found liable.
Communication Mistakes & Delays
While telemedicine makes accessing doctors much easier for patients in many ways, it can still be a burden on the provider and their communication if it’s not managed correctly. With telemedicine, some doctors see many more patients than they used to, which means juggling more diagnoses and treatment plans.
Through this higher load of patients, doctors and healthcare staff can make more mistakes or delay diagnoses or treatment plans, which can be labeled malpractice in a lawsuit.
If you’re a healthcare provider offering telemedicine services, group medical malpractice insurance is essential for mitigating risk and lawsuit damage. Contact our expert staff at Baxter & Associates to learn more about group malpractice insurance.