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The safety and legal issues of the rise of telemedicine

Health care is a constantly evolving field. One development that has been getting a lot of attention lately is telemedicine. Telemedicine involves medical practitioners using telecommunication technologies (such as videoconferencing) to provide patients with diagnostic and treatment services remotely.

The U.S. has seen quite of bit of growth in the use of this health care technology in recent years. Telemedicine programs have been implemented all over the country, including here Arizona. Arizona has several such programs.

It is predicted that telemedicine will continue to grow here in America. It will be interesting to see how big of a part such health care technology comes to play in everyday patient care in the future.

As telemedicine grows, there are some important issues to consider. This includes patient safety concerns. For one, telemedicine could raise some unique issues when it comes to how to prevent medical errors, such as missed diagnoses. One hopes that all hospitals that are moving towards telemedicine will take the necessary steps to ensure patient safety is properly protected in telemedicine programs.

Also, telemedicine gives rise to its own sets of legal issues, such as:

  • What the standard of care will be for telemedicine practitioners.
  • What legal options patients will have when they suspect they received negligent care through telemedicine.
  • What sorts of issues will tend to be central ones in cases involving telemedicine malpractice.
  • What laws states will put in place on liability matters related to telemedicine.

It will be interesting to see how the medical malpractice frameworks in the different states will adjust to the rise of telemedicine. As medical technologies and legal frameworks evolve, skilled malpractice attorneys can help patients stay informed of their rights.

Source: Arizona Capitol Times, "Telemedicine catches on, offers glimpse into health care's future," Pete Pichaske, March 31, 2017

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