Skip to Content
Medical Malpractice

Telemedicine and Medical Malpractice

June 28, 2024

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the move to providing online services for many industries, including healthcare. While telemedicine can be incredibly convenient, it does have its limitations. Patients should be aware of these limitations because they can, unfortunately, lead to medical malpractice. If you believe you have suffered harm as a result of telemedicine, you should contact a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. 

Different Types of Telemedicine

Telemedicine (sometimes also referred to as “e-medicine”) is a growing category of healthcare services. It can include the following: 

  • Synchronous telemedicine. This includes healthcare services that take place in real-time through platforms such as video or phone calls. While the patient is obviously not physically present, it does allow for a visual assessment, direct communication, and immediate feedback.
  • Asynchronous telemedicine. This involves the transmission of patient data to healthcare providers for review and assessment at a later time. This could include the electronic transmittal of imaging or test results. Unlike synchronous telemedicine, there is no simultaneous interaction between the provider and the person providing the information. 
  • Remote patient monitoring. An increasing number of medical devices allow providers to track a patient’s health status and vital signs when they are not physically present at a healthcare facility.   

The expansion of telemedicine options has provided more convenient care for patients and allowed providers to deliver higher-quality care. However, there are unique risks associated with telemedicine that can lead to malpractice claims if they are not appropriately managed. We recommend that you contact a medical malpractice lawyer if you have suffered harm as a result of medical malpractice. 

Malpractice Concerns Associated with Telemedicine

The primary risk of medical malpractice associated with telemedicine is misdiagnosis in the context of a telemedicine appointment. While the provider can make a visual assessment of the patient’s condition, they cannot get their vital signs such as their blood pressure, pulse, respiratory rate, and temperature. They are also unable to obtain their peripheral oxygen saturation or the patient’s weight. In other words, the doctor will be working with an incomplete assessment of the patient’s health. For these reasons, telemedicine appointments may not be appropriate in certain situations where the patient’s symptoms require an in-person visit to accurately diagnose the patient’s illness. If you were pressured into a telemedicine appointment and were then misdiagnosed, you may have a medical malpractice claim. 

Asynchronous telemedicine can also lead to potential diagnostic errors. For example, test results or imaging can be accidentally deleted. Digital files are arguably easier to overlook or forget about than physical files on your desk. Results can be misidentified. 

Remote monitoring can also carry risks of medical malpractice, including the following: 

  • Failure to monitor a patient’s vital signs
  • Failure to promptly identify signs of distress
  • Failure to take action or properly advise patients when they are in distress
  • Using malfunctioning devices or devices that haven’t been correctly calibrated 

While telemedicine expands the services that doctors can provide, it also increases the opportunities for mistakes to occur. Healthcare providers should take steps to guard against errors that can result in harm to the patient. If you have been harmed as a result of telemedicine, a medical malpractice lawyer can review your case and determine whether you have a claim. 

What to Do if You Suspect Your Provider Committed Malpractice

If you are experiencing unexpected side effects, your recovery is taking significantly longer than expected, or it turns out you were misdiagnosed, you may be the victim of medical malpractice. Do not ignore your symptoms. The very first thing you should do is schedule an appointment with another medical provider to assess your condition and determine whether there were any deviations from the standard of care. 

Once you have received the medical care you need, your next steps should be as follows: 

  • Keep copies of all of your medical records and bills, including the records from the prior treatment as well as your subsequent treatment.
  • Document your lost wages. 
  • Keep copies of all communications with your healthcare providers concerning your condition and the treatment you have received. 
  • Keep a diary of the pain and suffering you are experiencing and how the malpractice affects your daily life. 

The best thing to do is to contact a medical malpractice attorney. They can assess your case and explain your options so that you can find a way forward. 

Contact Ragain & Clark for Help with Your Medical Malpractice Case

If you are in pain and suffering, give us a call at 406-651-8888 (Billings) or 307-388-6400 (Worland) to discuss your case and how we can help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Close X RAGAIN & CLARK P.C.

Get Trusted Help Now

We provide legal representation to Montana and Wyoming individuals and small businesses.