Telehealth Surge: Unraveling the Complexity of Legal Cases in Digital Healthcare

An elderly woman in Henderson is holding up a tablet with a doctor's consulting with her during a telehealth session on it.

The rapid growth of telehealth services has transformed the healthcare landscape, providing patients with unparalleled access to medical care. With just a few clicks, individuals can connect with healthcare providers and receive medical advice and prescriptions. However, this digital revolution brings with it a new set of concerns about the quality of care and the marketing practices of some online telehealth platforms. This emerging trend of quick marketing may result in liabilities and mistakes that result in injury to patients. Buckle up as we navigate the complexities of legal cases in digital healthcare and understand the role of a telehealth medical malpractice attorney.

The Rise of Telehealth Services

The emergence of telehealth services has had a significant impact on the healthcare industry, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. With healthcare providers increasingly relying on digital technology to deliver medical care, ethical and legal issues have come to the forefront related to:

  • Medical malpractice
  • False advertising
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Data privacy

What is Telehealth?

Telehealth is the use of digital technology to provide remote healthcare services, including telemedicine. It includes live videoconferencing, asynchronous video, remote patient monitoring, and mobile health. Patients can access healthcare services from a distance through digital technologies like phone or video consultations, secure messaging, remote health monitoring, and secure file exchange.

Telehealth brings multiple benefits to patients, including:

  • The ease of using healthcare services from their homes, which reduces travel time and costs.
  • Significantly improved accessibility for patients in remote areas by permitting small rural hospitals and clinics to provide quality healthcare services locally and at reduced costs.
  • Overcoming distance and time constraints, enabling patients in secluded areas to interact with healthcare providers via video conferencing or phone calls.

A wide range of healthcare services can be provided through telehealth, covering various medical disciplines, such as:

  • General health care
  • Wellness visits
  • Prescriptions for medicine
  • Dermatology (skin care)
  • Counseling
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Home health
  • Chronic disease monitoring These services can be provided by other health care providers, ensuring comprehensive care for patients.

The enhanced access to healthcare services provided by telehealth has rendered it a vital part of the healthcare ecosystem.

How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected the growth of telehealth services?

The Covid-19 public health emergency has been a catalyst for the increased utilization of telehealth by healthcare providers, leading to improved access to care. This pandemic has accelerated the implementation of telehealth services, rendering them a critical component of healthcare delivery, and expanding the range of medical services available to patients remotely.

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) telehealth platforms have emerged as a popular solution for patients to access healthcare services directly, without going through a healthcare provider, thus increasing the availability of health resources.

Quick Marketing in Telehealth

As telehealth platforms rapidly expand their services, aggressive marketing tactics have become commonplace. These tactics promise speedy access to healthcare professionals who can provide prescriptions in a matter of minutes. Nonetheless, the appeal of the convenience and speed provided by telehealth platforms comes with possible legal ramifications.

Concerns About Telehealth Quality of Care and Health Risks

The swift expansion of telehealth services stirs up worries about the standard of care provided and possible health risks to patients due to online consultations’ lack of thorough medical assessments with virtual medical provider consultations often lasting only a few minutes.

Healthcare providers during virtual consultations may not inquire about past medical history, current health status, or symptoms. Some online telehealth platforms offer prescription services for controlled substances and psychiatric medications with minimal scrutiny. The lax approach to prescribing controlled substances and psychiatric medications could lead to serious consequences like misuse, addiction, and unknown and unadvised adverse side effects.

Possible Legal Cases in Telehealth

The telehealth industry is not immune to legal cases. Various legal cases may arise in this rapidly growing field, including:

  • Medical malpractice
  • False advertising
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Data privacy

Medical Malpractice

Patients who experience adverse effects or complications due to inadequate assessments or improper prescriptions may file medical malpractice claims against healthcare providers. Misdiagnosis, incorrect treatment, and inadequate follow-up care are common forms of medical malpractice in telehealth services.

If you believe you have been the victim of medical malpractice in telehealth in Nevada, seeking advice from a medical malpractice attorney in Nevada is important, given the complexity of these cases. A telehealth malpractice attorney can ensure that the case is managed correctly and that your rights as a patient are safeguarded.

False Advertising

Telehealth platforms may face legal action for false advertising if they make exaggerated claims about their speed and convenience. Misleading marketing practices can result in financial penalties and reputational damage.

Regulatory Compliance

Telehealth platforms must comply with state and federal regulations, including medical licensure, the interstate medical licensure compact, and any failure in doing so could lead to legal repercussions. This may include issues related to prescribing controlled substances and psychiatric medications without proper assessments.

Data privacy

The collection and storage of patients’ personal and medical data by telehealth platforms may raise privacy concerns. Violations of data privacy laws could lead to legal action, including fines, penalties, and other sanctions.

Telehealth platforms must adhere to applicable data privacy laws and regulations. This includes safeguarding the collection and storage of patients’ personal and medical data and ensuring that any data breaches are reported and addressed promptly.

The Role of a Telehealth Medical Malpractice Attorney

Considering the potential legal obstacles tied to telehealth services, it’s important to seek advice from a specialized telehealth medical malpractice attorney when dealing with these cases. A dedicated attorney can help navigate the complexities of legal cases in digital healthcare and ensure that the rights of all parties are protected.

When to Consult a Telehealth Malpractice Lawyer

Determining the right time to seek legal advice from a telehealth malpractice lawyer is crucial. Indications of medical malpractice in a telehealth context may include:

  • Breaching the accepted standard of care
  • Negligent acts or omissions
  • Miscommunication or misdiagnosis
  • Technological errors
  • Inadequate documentation and patient counseling

When a patient believes they have been subject to medical malpractice in a telehealth setting, it is important for them to consult a telehealth malpractice lawyer to evaluate their legal options. A specialized Henderson medical malpractice attorney can guide the patient through the process of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, including gathering relevant evidence, submitting a claim or complaint against the healthcare provider, and negotiating a settlement or proceeding to court.

The evidence typically required to substantiate malpractice in telehealth cases consists of:

  • Medical records
  • Communication records
  • Expert testimony
  • Documentation of informed consent
  • Any other pertinent documentation.

Contact Us Today For a Free Consultation

While online telehealth services offer undeniable benefits in terms of convenience and accessibility, it is essential to ensure that these services maintain the highest standards of care and adhere to legal and ethical guidelines. As the quick marketing of such services continues to proliferate, it is likely that legal cases will arise to address the potential risks and challenges associated with them. If you believe you have been a victim of substandard care or misleading advertising in the context of telehealth, contact us to consult with an attorney here at Christian Morris Trial Attorneys!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the malpractice issues with telehealth?

Misdiagnosis is the major risk of telehealth malpractice, with 45% of all claims being related to misdiagnosis of serious medical conditions such as cancer, stroke, and infection.

What are legal issues with telehealth?

Legal issues with telehealth include obtaining consent from the patient, addressing licensing of providers and confidentiality of patient information, and confirming coverage under insurance policies for all locations. It is also important to be aware of any state laws that regulate how protected health information is collected and stored.

What is the difference between telemedicine and telehealth?

Telemedicine focuses on clinical use of technology, while telehealth takes a broader view, encompassing multiple medical disciplines and consumer-oriented services.