The use of telehealth services skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even now, providers and patients alike use face to face visits via phone, tablet, or computer for a limited range of diagnostic and treatment services. Are physicians providing these screen services at risk for malpractice claims, and does their insurance offer them the liability protection they need? In this blog, we will explore the answers to these two questions.
Do Physicians Open Themselves to Risk When Delivering Telehealth Services?
Yes, physicians and other healthcare providers who offer telehealth services are at risk for medical malpractice claims and litigation. The errors usually made during online medical care are more limited than those made in person. However, they still can result in patient harm and therefore legitimate medical malpractice claims.
The errors which can occur during telehealth care include:
- Medical care which is not timely enough to achieve the right therapeutic outcomes
- Missed diagnoses
- Omissions of necessary treatments
- Medication mistakes–the wrong drug in the wrong dose or missing information on allergies and other adverse reactions
- Prescribing certain medications through televisits when said drugs should only be prescribed in an in-person evaluation
- Patient privacy (HIPAA) breaches
- Delivering services across state lines (the patient and provider are located in different states and one state does not allow televisits)
- Insufficient or missing documentation of patient symptoms, medical history, current medication, and other data important to the medical chart
In short, there is much more to consider than may meet the eye when delivering telemedicine. The practicing environment is very different than an in-office doctor-patient encounter. Providers and their staff need as much training as possible to stay within safe and confidential standards of healthcare delivery.
Does Your Medical Malpractice Insurance Offer You The Protection You Need?
The answer to this will depend on the insurance coverage you currently have in place. Some malpractice insurance policies now include telehealth riders, which are insurance policy provisions added to your main policy.
Riders address and cover certain aspects of risk and liability, and in this case, telehealth services would be considered a risk and possible occurrence of malpractice incident and liability.
If your current policy does not have a telehealth rider or if you have no coverage whatsoever and wish to find out what you need, you should schedule a consultation with a skilled insurance broker to understand what your state and area of specialty requires for telehealth practice.
Telehealth Malpractice Insurance Near You
At eQuoteMD, our insurance experts are the liaison between you and numerous A++ list medical malpractice insurance carriers. As an insurance brokerage, we look for the highest quality coverage appropriate to your location, state, facility, and area of specialty. Plus, we help you understand your particular risks and what kind of coverage would serve you now and as your practice or specialty changes.
Contact our St. Louis, MO, location today to begin the process of getting medical malpractice insurance, including telehealth coverage. You may call us at (855) 823-5283 or request your personalized insurance quote online.
We look forward to providing you with superior protection for your telehealth services at a price you can afford!