In recent years, the landscape of healthcare delivery has undergone a significant transformation, with the rise of telemedicine paving the way for remote consultations and digital healthcare services. While telemedicine offers undeniable benefits in terms of convenience and accessibility, it also brings forth complex legal considerations, particularly in the realm of medical malpractice.

As a plaintiff's medical malpractice attorney, I've witnessed firsthand the evolving challenges and opportunities presented by telemedicine. In this blog post, we'll explore the intersection of telemedicine and medical malpractice, shedding light on key issues and providing guidance for those who may find themselves navigating this increasingly prevalent area of law.

Understanding Telemedicine

Telemedicine, broadly defined, involves the delivery of healthcare services remotely, typically through electronic communication channels such as video conferencing, phone calls, or secure messaging platforms. This mode of healthcare delivery has surged in popularity, particularly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as patients seek alternatives to traditional in-person appointments.

Additionally, telemedicine or remote medicine may be found as an aspect of care received in hospital. Many hospitals depend on remote radiologists to read X-ray studies after hours or on weekends. In the intensive care unit, remote intensivists may be used to monitor patients. In some hospitals all in patient and emergency room patients are monitored for signs and indications of sepsis.

The Legal Landscape

While telemedicine holds great promise for expanding access to healthcare, it also raises unique legal challenges, particularly concerning medical malpractice liability. One of the primary concerns revolves around establishing the standard of care in a virtual setting. How does the standard of care apply when a physician is evaluating a patient remotely, without the benefit of conducting a physical examination?

Key Legal Considerations

Several key legal considerations arise in the context of telemedicine and medical malpractice:

1. Standard of Care: Determining whether a healthcare provider adhered to the appropriate standard of care in a telemedicine encounter requires careful examination. While the specifics may vary depending on the circumstances of the case, healthcare professionals must uphold the same level of care and competency regardless of the mode of delivery.

2. Informed Consent: Obtaining informed consent is essential in any medical encounter, including telemedicine consultations. Patients have the right to be fully informed about the nature of the telemedicine services being provided, as well as any associated risks or limitations.

3. Technology Issues: Telemedicine relies heavily on technology, and technical failures or glitches can potentially compromise patient care. From connectivity issues to data breaches, technological challenges can introduce additional complexities into the realm of medical malpractice.

4. Documentation: Thorough documentation is crucial in telemedicine encounters to ensure clarity regarding the diagnosis, treatment plan, and any recommendations provided to the patient. Accurate and comprehensive documentation can serve as invaluable evidence in the event of a malpractice claim.

5. Venue: One practical consideration is where can or must a lawsuit involving a remote medical provider be filed? Where the patient was located? Where the doctor or nurse is located? These considerations are fact specific and must be considered.

Seeking Legal Guidance

If you believe that you or a loved one has been harmed as a result of medical negligence in a telemedicine context, it's essential to seek legal guidance from a qualified medical malpractice attorney. An experienced attorney can assess the specifics of your case, help you understand your rights, and advocate on your behalf to pursue the compensation you deserve.

At Hendrickson Law, we specialize in representing plaintiffs in medical malpractice cases, including those involving telemedicine. With our in-depth knowledge of healthcare law and a track record of successful outcomes, we are committed to fighting for justice on behalf of our clients.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your case further, don't hesitate to contact us. Your health and well-being are our top priorities, and we're here to help you every step of the way.