Medical practices have rapidly moved telehealth, or telemedicine, into the mainstream in response to COVID-19. Restrictions from the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) severely curtailed many in-person medical appointments and procedures as a means of slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
However, as helpful and convenient as telemedicine appointments can be for both patient and physician, there are risks of inadequate care. Nothing can replace the in-person examination and face-to-face interaction of a doctor and a person needing treatment. In the rush to complete the telehealth visit or due to the more relaxed environment, too many important things can be neglected.
Lack of Accurate Diagnosis and Testing
In a standard in-office medical appointment, the basic physical health indicators are measured even before a doctor is notified that a patient is ready for their attention. Height, weight, temperature and blood pressure are always taken beforehand, and this information is provided to the physician. This is not possible in a telehealth visit.
The doctor in a telehealth appointment basically proceeds on what he or she is told by the patient, via what has been forwarded by the assistant charged with facilitating the video appointment. If the doctor doesn’t have basic health data to aid in his or her diagnostic attempts, how much is missed that could have been detected in a normal in-office visit? What important tests will be delayed or not performed?
Inadequate Time Spent with Patients
Many patients complain of feeling rushed while in the doctor’s office, as if the doctor has too many patients to provide adequate care. How much can this be exacerbated when the physician in question is attempting to care for patients who are present in his or her office as well as several telehealth appointments each day?
Haste makes for mistakes, and an infection or condition that is misdiagnosed or missed altogether, or even delayed because of the “telehealth first, then an in-office appointment at the next opportunity” protocol, can have serious repercussions.
Daniel J. Moriarty is an Atlanta personal injury attorney who handles medical malpractice cases where neglect or mistakes lead to injury. If you or someone you love have received inadequate care due to COVID-19 protocols like telehealth appointments and resulting delays for testing or treatments, or perhaps have suffered injury, call today at 404-600-1794 to arrange for a free consultation.
Posted on behalf of Moriarty Injury Lawyer
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