Virtual medical visits have dramatically increased over the last few months because of convenience, shutdowns, and concerns over going to medical offices. But telemedicine has risks that can lead to personal injury medical malpractice claims.
With the increased adoption of telemedicine over the last 15 years, there has been a rise in malpractice claims although telemedicine’s share of all claims is still relatively small. The most common claim is missed diagnosis.
The highest misdiagnosis claims in telemedicine involved cancer which were 25 percent of claims. Twenty percent of other misdiagnosis claims were missed strokes, missed infections was an additional 20 percent and orthopedics was 10 percent.
Large numbers of physicians and patients are using telemedicine differently than ever before this year. This could lead to new claims which may not be fully apparent for many years. To deal with this, medical societies started to offer education about examination techniques that specifically govern their specialties.
This technology also comes with security risks. These include the possibility of cyberattacks and risks to patient privacy. Hackers find that private medical information is very valuable. Practitioners should use a HIPAA-compliant platform even if states temporarily stopped enforcement of this requirement.
Many older patients used telehealth during the early months of the pandemic this year because of restrictions on elective and non-emergency heath care. Almost 25 percent of individuals over 50 who answered a survey had a virtual visit between March and June.
Thirty percent of these respondents said that video phone visits were the only option for scheduling their appointment. Almost half of respondents said that their in-person appointment was cancelled or rescheduled by their provider during that time.
Most respondents considered telemedicine as easy to use. But 75 percent did not like that they were unable to have a physical examination and 67 percent questioned the quality of care compared to in-person visits. Other issues involved 45 percent of patients not feeling personally connected to the provider, 25 percent having difficulty seeing or hearing the practitioner and 24 percent who had privacy concerns.
An attorney can help victims of medical malpractice and their families review their options and gather evidence. They can help them pursue their right to compensation and damages in a lawsuit.