Medical Malpractice & Telehealth: Should You Be Concerned?

Telehealth was around before the COVID-19 pandemic, but since the pandemic, it has exploded in popularity and become much more widespread. However, with the rapid expansion of telehealth services, many patients wonder if telehealth is more prone to medical malpractice or negligence issues.

Keep reading to find out more about telemedicine, medical malpractice, and legal liability.

Misdiagnosis May Be the Greatest Risk

In 2022, telemedicine has become a common way for patients to connect with their physicians and other medical practitioners. In fact, many practices have shifted routine visits to telemedicine, especially when a patient has a cold or other common illness that does not necessarily require an office visit for diagnosis. While this has made medical care more accessible for many people, it is not without its risk.

Misdiagnosis is generally considered the greatest risk associated with telemedicine.

Common Issues in Telemedicine

While medical negligence can happen anywhere at any time, a few common issues associated with telemedicine, in general, may leave physicians and patients at greater risk of malpractice. One of the first is that because telemedicine is a remote service, many physicians and healthcare providers are treating and prescribing to patients whom they have never met. This lack of direct contact and connection with a patient can lead to a few problems. For example, the virtual nature of telehealth can create an atmosphere in which patients are rushed through appointments or are not given the opportunity to explain their situation fully. Practitioners may also become detached from patients.

Another common issue with telehealth is the lack of continuity of care that patients may receive. Previously, telemedicine was used as a supplement to traditional healthcare practices. For example, you may have a telemedicine appointment with your family physician to deal with a cold, but you still visit their office every year for a physical. As previously mentioned, physicians are now treating patients they’ve never met, and patients may be virtually meeting with a different physician every time they make a telemedicine appointment.

Two major contributing factors to telemedicine negligence are:

  • Lack of a direct relationship between patients and practitioners
  • Reduced continuity of care

Both of these issues can create a scenario in which healthcare providers never get to know patients, their medical history, or other aspects of their lives that contribute to their health, such as living situations, family history, or profession. This lack of knowledge and disconnection from patients can leave practitioners open to a greater risk of medical malpractice incidents and claims.

Do You Have a Medical Malpractice Claim?

To bring a medical malpractice claim, the plaintiff must demonstrate that their physician (or health care provider, practitioner, etc.) has breached a duty of care owed to them and that this breach directly caused the plaintiff harm. If you believe this has happened to you as a result of negligence while receiving virtual medical care, it is highly recommended that you speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney, like ours at Golomb Legal.

Telemedicine medical malpractice cases can be complicated, but with the help of an experienced attorney, you can get the support you need to determine if filing a malpractice suit is in your best interest. Reach out to us online to discuss your case with one of our lawyers.