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Does Telemedicine Increase the Risk of Medical Errors?

Telemedicine, also known as remote or online medicine, is the practice of providing medical care and advice via telecommunication technology. It has been used for years to provide care to patients in rural and underserved areas. However, its use has expanded in recent years due to the pandemic, and more people have become comfortable using technology for health purposes.

While telemedicine can be a convenient and effective way to receive care, there are some potential risks associated with it. One of the main concerns is that telemedicine can increase the risk of medical errors.

Benefits of Telemedicine

Before we take a look at the potential downsides to telemedicine, it is important to discuss the advantages, as telemedicine has been an excellent tool for medical professionals and patients, especially over the last few years.

  1. Improved Access to Care - Telemedicine is a great option for patients living in areas far from medical facilities, without health insurance or in need of certain specialists.
  2. Reduced Infection Rate from Facility - Waiting rooms can be a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses, leading to mass exposure and the potential for many vulnerable people to be infected. Telemedicine eliminates this risk by allowing patients and even doctors to conduct a visit from the safety of their own homes.

Potential for Medical Mistakes?

Telemedicine can give rise to medical errors, however. Medical errors are defined as any preventable or avoidable adverse events that occur during the course of medical care. They can range from minor mistakes that cause no harm to patients to serious errors that result in death or severe injury. Some telemedicine errors can be a result of:

  • Miscommunication - There is potential miscommunication between the patient and the doctor. This can happen if the two parties cannot understand each other clearly, or if important information is not conveyed properly.
  • Lack of Information - Telemedicine can also lead to treatment delays, a missed diagnosis or a misdiagnosis due to the physician not having all of the information necessary as they may have in a face-to-face setting.
  • Technical Issues - Poor audio or video quality can make it difficult for a doctor to understand what the patient is saying or vice versa.

Are You a Victim of Medical Malpractice?

Medical professionals and their practices owe patients a certain duty of care. When that duty is breached due to negligence, serious consequences can occur. With nearly 50 years of experience, Crowe & Mulvey, LLP has been helping victims of medical malpractice recover the compensation and justice they are owed. If you believe you have suffered at the hands of medical negligence, contact us today!

If you were injured as a result of medical malpractice, call us today at (617) 404-3417 or fill out our form online for a free consultation.

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