How Telemedicine Impacts Ohio Medical Malpractice Lawsuits June 27, 2024.

How Telemedicine Impacts Ohio Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Since 2020, telemedicine has become more popular than ever. Many services are performed over an internet connection, sometimes even with specialized tools that are equipped with Wi-Fi and video capabilities. While convenient, virtual healthcare leaves gaps in a patient’s continuity of care and limits their access to the type and quality of medical care they can receive.

Continue reading to learn about the downsides of telehealth and how these can result in serious consequences for the average person. Plus, get help filing an Ohio medical malpractice lawsuit if you were hurt as a result of virtual medical malpractice.

The Inherent Risks of Telemedicine

Telemedicine offers a new level of accessibility to medical care that wasn’t previously available, giving it an important role to play in healthcare. That said, there are unfortunately risks that come along with it due to the very nature of the practice. Some of these include:

Misdiagnosis

For patients, meeting with a doctor online and meeting with them face-to-face may be quite similar experiences with the exception of a physical exam. For physicians, the experience of meeting with patients online is very different from the experience of seeing them in person and there’s often a lot of information they are missing.

For example, the doctor can’t use their sense of smell during a telehealth appointment to attribute a patient’s abdominal pain to a potential unreported alcohol use disorder. They can only observe the patient through a screen and connected tools, if the facility has them. This often results in misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose. Patients may be diagnosed with a less complex or easier to treat condition, simply because of the limited interaction that’s available with virtual healthcare.

Failure to Perform Diagnostic Testing

Because online physicians have a limited scope of practice, they may fail or even refuse to perform critical diagnostic testing. They may have access to the right testing equipment or may not know where the patient can go to get the specific test that they need.

Instead of putting the extra time and effort into connecting the dots for patients with challenging health issues, telemedicine providers often “pass the buck” and tell patients that the tests aren’t available through their medical group and to contact a different provider.

If a patient suffers harm as a result, they may be able to hold the doctor liable for failure to perform necessary diagnostic testing if they can prove that the test should have been within their scope of practice. 

Delayed Treatment

Unfortunately, virtual healthcare also carries a risk of delayed treatment. Doctors may be reluctant to prescribe medications over the internet, especially if they require follow up or are in a class of controlled drugs.

They also might not know how to connect patients with therapy or home treatments and medical devices. As a result, many telehealth providers look for ways to dismiss the patient without any next steps, such as recommending rest and to call back if symptoms get worse.

Another issue is the inability to physically be present with a patient can make it difficult for a provider to properly assess the urgency of their condition. By the time patients get to another medical professional who can provide them with the proper testing and treatment, the condition may have progressed and it may become more challenging to resolve.

In situations where time is of the essence and swift medical intervention is crucial, delays caused by the nature of telemedicine can be costly for patients.

How to Hold Telehealth Providers Responsible 

Federal laws that dictate how brick-and-mortar hospitals and other medical practices operate also apply to virtual healthcare. Providers have the same duty of care to their patients and are required to keep the same accurate records of symptoms and treatments. This means they can also be held accountable for medical negligence if a patient has suffered real harm as a result.

Start by collecting medical records from your appointments and writing down as much information as you can about how you feel, your symptoms, and things you’re having trouble doing as a result of your condition. Then, a qualified malpractice attorney can use this data to file a claim against the provider.

Get Started with an Ohio Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Today 

Do you need help filing an Ohio medical malpractice lawsuit after being injured due to a telehealth provider’s neglect? Call The Mellino Law Firm today to learn more about malpractice cases or to schedule your free consultation to discuss the details of your own. Contact us now by calling (440) 333-3800 or complete our short online form and we’ll get back to you right away.