Telehealth has become more widely available to West Virginia residents. And the ability to receive virtual healthcare is a convenience for many. But telemedicine increases the risk of medical malpractice for patients and doctors.
What is medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider harms a patient. A hospital, nurse, doctor or other healthcare professional counts as a healthcare provider. The harm must come from medical negligence or failing to provide important information.
In this case, harm is a broad term that covers different situations. Harm can include physical injury, mental distress, loss of income and other forms of suffering. Below are some common medical malpractice risks associated with remote healthcare.
Misdiagnosis is the largest risk associated with telehealth. Incorrect diagnosis of infection, cancer and stroke is the basis for many malpractice claims. Technology plays a role in the high number of diagnosis mistakes. Glitches in audio and video streaming can affect the quality of communication. As a result, this might affect what the doctor hears and influence the diagnosis.
It’s wise to test your equipment before your remote healthcare appointment. Your audio and video should work well. Also, access to a reliable high-speed internet connection is preferable. You can also ask your doctor questions to make sure you both understand each other.
HIPPA laws ensure your patient information is only shared with your consent or knowledge. And like your in-person doctor visits, HIPAA compliance is required for virtual visits. Your doctor should make you aware of your privacy rights. And if you’re a healthcare provider, take steps to make sure you and your staff remain in compliance with HIPAA.
Private data security
Telehealth relies on technology. This opens the door for possible risks involving data security. If patient information isn’t stored correctly, it’s possible a hacker could access the information. Maintaining software updates and using firewalls can help reduce the risk of your patient data being comprised.
The risk of medical malpractice is a bit higher with virtual healthcare. But now you’re aware of some of the biggest risks. That means you can take these risks into consideration during your next telehealth appointment.