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3 major challenges of providing telehealth services

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2024 | Doctor License Defense, Professional License Defense |

Amidst the recent pandemic, the field of medicine and health care rose to the occasion admirably. Doctors can now consult and provide diagnoses to patients virtually using the internet and video calling applications. Yet, telehealth, or caring for patients remotely, physicians continue to face various legal challenges when attempting to adopt this innovative approach to care.

Serving patients out-of-state

The convenience that telehealth provides is one of its main advantages. Doctors can check up on their patients even when in-person visits are not possible. Additionally, it allows physicians to reach a wider pool of patients.

However, doctors must stay cautious of serving patients residing in or traveling to other states. Health care practitioners must secure an official medical license in the state where the patient is located before performing telehealth treatment. Practicing medicine without the appropriate license or adhering to the respective state’s requirements can have serious legal ramifications, such as fines, imprisonment or license sanction.

Ensuring doctor-patient confidentiality

When patients see doctors in person, they can trust that their conversation stays within the confines of the office or clinic. However, telehealth services may not always guarantee that kind of privacy and security.

The lack of private space can make it challenging for patients to share sensitive health information. There is also the risk of others inside the same area to overhear the conversation.

Moreover, telehealth can be vulnerable to safety and security threats due to various technical lapses. Among them are the lack of protocols in the collection and use of patient data as well as cyber threats such as malware or hacking.

Nowadays, people are increasingly vigilant about their personal information. Without taking precautions, physicians risk facing a HIPAA violation and criminal penalties.

Exercising standard of care remotely

Physicians must always provide patients with the highest standard of care, regardless of whether they meet in person or remotely. However, due to technological limitations, video consultation alone cannot accurately evaluate some conditions.

Health practitioners should use their best judgment and inform patients when an in-person appointment is necessary. Doing so is crucial to avoid misdiagnosis, prescription errors and delays in treatment.

Telehealth is helping revolutionize health care, making medicine more accessible to patients. Yet, physicians who want to embrace it must tread carefully. Staying well-informed on the legalities of telehealth is critical to avoiding potential penalties and the risk of endangering their medical licenses.

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