Telemedicine and Malpractice

There has been an increased use of telemedicine over the last several years, and this has led to questions regarding the prevalence of medical malpractice. A large percentage of health organizations have implemented telemedicine platforms. Employers see it as a way to save money and provide care for non-urgent medical services.


What is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine is a system that allows patients to use technology to obtain a diagnosis and treatment plan from a medical professional. It is a form of remote medical care that relies on audio and sometimes video for patients to communicate with healthcare providers.


Telemedicine and the Risk of Malpractice

While telemedicine can be useful to help patients who wouldn’t otherwise be able to access care or who have, what appear to be relatively minor issues that don’t require an in-person visit, telemedicine is not without its risks. There is, of course, the risk of technology malfunctioning and issues of privacy. But there is also the risk, as in any medical setting, of malpractice. Medical professionals who use telemedicine as part of their practice are held to the same standard of care as those who use in-person examinations. If they fail to adhere to the standard of care, then the medical professional may be liable for medical malpractice.


Some common situations where medical malpractice can occur in a telemedicine setting include:

  • Misdiagnosis—as with any medical visit, a patient relies on a medical professional to make a correct diagnosis. In a telemedicine setting, a doctor relies on the patient’s explanation of an issue and a visual view of the patient to make an accurate diagnosis. This isn’t always enough, and some conditions can be misdiagnosed, which leads to incorrect treatment and possible injury.
  • Errors in Prescribing Medication—when a medical professional conducts a telemedicine visit, it is essential that they thoroughly review a patient’s medical history. If a medication is prescribed that interacts with a medication the patient is already taking, it can result in serious health consequences. In addition, medication allergies should be taken into account.
  • Failure to Recognize When Telemedicine Isn’t Enough—one of the most common forms of telemedicine malpractice occurs when a medical professional fails to recognize that an in-person visit is required to properly diagnose a patient. There may be some level of indifference to serious medical issues when a patient is not face-to-face with a doctor. Medical professionals have an obligation to take all necessary steps to ensure a correct diagnosis.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you’ve been injured due to medical negligence, you should have an experienced medical malpractice attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have been helping the victims of medical negligence for over 50 years. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.