purchase, george & murphey.

purchase, george & murphey.


Telemedicine and Medical Malpractice: Navigating the Legal Landscape in Pennsylvania

December 7, 2023

Telemedicine and Medical Malpractice: Navigating the Legal Landscape in Pennsylvania

The Rise of Telemedicine and Its Legal Implications

In recent years, telemedicine has emerged as a game-changer in the healthcare industry, offering patients convenient access to medical services and healthcare providers the ability to reach a wider audience. However, with the rapid expansion of telemedicine, there comes a new set of legal challenges, particularly in the realm of medical malpractice. As a premier law firm with extensive experience in medical malpractice cases, Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. is dedicated to helping individuals and healthcare professionals navigate these uncharted waters within the framework of Pennsylvania law.

The Evolution and Impact of Telemedicine

Defining Telemedicine and Its Growth

Telemedicine, a term often used interchangeably with telehealth, is the practice of providing medical services remotely, using technology to bridge the gap between healthcare providers and patients. The proliferation of telemedicine can be attributed to technological advancements, improved internet connectivity, and the demand for more accessible healthcare services, particularly highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, telemedicine has experienced tremendous growth, transforming the way healthcare is delivered.

The Benefits of Telemedicine

Telemedicine allows patients to consult with healthcare professionals via video calls, phone calls, and secure messaging platforms, enhancing healthcare accessibility, efficiency, and convenience. It reduces the need for in-person visits and provides valuable medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment from the comfort of one’s own home.

Medical Malpractice Concerns

While telemedicine has certainly improved access to healthcare, it also raises concerns about medical malpractice, a complex issue in the legal landscape. Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare provider’s negligence results in harm or injury to a patient. With telemedicine, the line between responsibility and accountability can become blurred. This article explores the legal framework of telemedicine in Pennsylvania, potential malpractice risks, and how Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. can assist in addressing these challenges.

Legal Framework for Telemedicine in Pennsylvania

Regulations and Definitions

Pennsylvania, like many other states, has recognized the importance of regulating telemedicine. In 2018, the Pennsylvania Medical Board issued regulations to establish the framework for telemedicine practices within the state. These regulations define telemedicine as “the delivery of health care services provided through telecommunications technology to a patient at an originating site by a practitioner at a distant site.”

Key Provisions:

  • Credentialing and Licensing: Telemedicine providers in Pennsylvania must be licensed and credentialed to practice within the state. Providers from outside of Pennsylvania who wish to offer telemedicine services within the state must adhere to Pennsylvania’s licensing and credentialing requirements.
  • Informed Consent: Providers are required to obtain informed consent from patients before initiating telemedicine services. Informed consent entails discussing the nature and purpose of the telemedicine consultation, potential risks, and the patient’s right to refuse or withdraw from the telemedicine service.
  • Privacy and Security: Pennsylvania’s telemedicine regulations place a strong emphasis on protecting patient information. Healthcare providers must adhere to federal and state laws related to the privacy and security of patient health information.
  • Prescribing Medication: Telemedicine providers in Pennsylvania are permitted to prescribe medications through telemedicine, provided that the prescribing practitioner complies with applicable federal and state laws. However, there are specific requirements and restrictions in place, particularly when it comes to controlled substances.

Potential Risks in Telemedicine and Medical Malpractice

Unique Challenges and Risks

The intersection of telemedicine and medical malpractice is a relatively uncharted territory, and it brings forth unique challenges and potential risks that both healthcare providers and patients should be aware of.

Key Concerns:

  • Misdiagnosis and Inadequate Assessment: One of the significant risks in telemedicine is the possibility of misdiagnosis and inadequate patient assessment. The limitations of remote consultations can lead to inaccurate diagnoses, as healthcare providers may not have access to essential diagnostic tools and physical examinations. A misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis can result in severe harm to patients.
  • Technical Failures and Privacy Breaches: Telemedicine relies heavily on technology, which introduces its own set of risks. Technical failures, such as poor video quality, dropped calls, or data breaches, can disrupt the consultation and potentially compromise the patient’s confidentiality. Ensuring secure and compliant telemedicine practices is essential to avoiding legal repercussions.
  • Inadequate Informed Consent: Obtaining proper informed consent in telemedicine is critical, as it ensures that patients understand the nature of the consultation and any potential risks involved. Failing to obtain informed consent or not properly documenting it can expose healthcare providers to legal liability.
  • Licensing and Credentialing Issues: The intricacies of licensing and credentialing in telemedicine can lead to legal complications. Failing to adhere to the regulatory requirements for telemedicine providers can result in disciplinary action and potential legal consequences.
  • Prescription Errors: Prescribing medication through telemedicine requires strict adherence to state and federal regulations. Errors in prescribing medication, particularly controlled substances, can have severe legal implications for healthcare providers.

It is evident that telemedicine introduces a new landscape for potential medical malpractice risks, requiring healthcare providers and patients to exercise caution and adhere to existing regulations.

How Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. Can Assist

As telemedicine grows, so does the need for legal expertise in its associated challenges. At Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. we offer comprehensive support in telemedicine and medical malpractice law.

Our Services

  • Legal Consultation: We provide comprehensive legal consultations to healthcare providers and patients involved in telemedicine. Whether you are a healthcare professional seeking guidance on compliance with telemedicine regulations or a patient who believes they have been a victim of medical malpractice, we are here to offer valuable insights and recommendations.
  • Compliance Guidance: We can assist healthcare providers in understanding and complying with Pennsylvania’s telemedicine regulations, ensuring that they meet the legal requirements for licensing, credentialing, informed consent, and privacy and security.
  • Defense and Representation: In cases of medical malpractice allegations related to telemedicine, our legal team is prepared to provide strong defense and representation. We will work tirelessly to protect the interests of healthcare providers facing legal action, leveraging our experience in medical malpractice cases.
  • Patient Advocacy: For patients who believe they have suffered harm due to medical malpractice in telemedicine, we offer advocacy and support. We will help you understand your rights and pursue legal action, if necessary, to seek compensation for the damages you have incurred.

Our commitment to excellence in legal representation, paired with our in-depth understanding of the evolving landscape of telemedicine and medical malpractice, positions us as a trusted partner in these challenging times.

Contact an Experienced Telemedicine and Medical Malpractice Lawyer At Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. for a Free Consultation About Your Case Today

In the ever-evolving landscape of telemedicine, legal challenges can be as intricate as they are unexpected. At Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C., we blend our deep understanding of Pennsylvania’s legal framework with a commitment to personalized client care. Whether you’re a healthcare provider adapting to telemedicine’s new demands or a patient facing the aftermath of a medical malpractice incident, our team is here to guide you through every legal hurdle with clarity and confidence.

We don’t just offer legal solutions; we build partnerships grounded in trust and expertise. Our approach is tailored to meet the unique needs of each case, ensuring that your legal journey with us is not only successful but also empowering. With Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C., you’re not just hiring a law firm; you’re gaining a dedicated ally in the complex world of medical malpractice law.

Contact us today to experience legal guidance that’s as innovative as it is reliable.