The Rise and Risk of Telehealth in the Developing Pandemic

Telehealth has been used pre-COVID for many reasons. Healthcare providers have used virtual methods to provide support to astronauts in space, patients in rural areas, and even to collaborate with one another on difficult cases or surgeries. Now, technological advances have allowed healthcare professionals to continue providing services amidst an unprecedented time. Some researchers are predicting a sevenfold growth in telehealth usage by 2025.

COVID-19 has impacted the healthcare system in many ways, including this shift to telehealth. Whether practicing cardiology, dermatology or family medicine, telehealth has been and will be a vital tool to continuing to provide healthcare in the future. The use of virtual healthcare comes with a number of benefits including increased accessibility to healthcare for many and decreased risk to infectious diseases such as COVID-19, it does not come without liability risk. 

Some of these risks include: 

  1. Increased risk of misdiagnosis- Without physically seeing patients in an exam room, the risk for misdiagnosing patients increases.
  1. Limited access for some patients-  Low income households and Seniors are less likely to be able to access telemedicine. Half of U.S. seniors do not have internet access.
  1. Administrative risks- Providing healthcare in a virtual environment may lead to oversights but staff members still need to follow proper procedures such as confirming identity, inquiring about allergies and receiving the patient’s specific consent to receive treatment via telemedicine.

There are ways to incorporate telehealth and minimize risk. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to extreme changes in most fields, including healthcare. 

The key to healthcare in these uncertain times may be the use of telehealth but how do you minimize your risk? There are many steps that can be taken to minimize risk of misdiagnosis. 

  • Properly trained staff 
  • Educated patients
  • Document visits properly
  • Reduce risk of cybersecurity threats
  • Know your state’s laws surrounding online-only patients
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By staying educated and informed, you can minimize your risk of malpractice suits in the new age of telehealth. Contact us at CARE today. We can help you minimize your risk to telehealth related malpractice suits.

Footnotes

  1. https://images.discover.frost.com/Web/FrostSullivan/%7B348611ab-5dae-418e-8977-b6135cd0349e%7D_K488_Samples.pdf
  2. https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2017/05/17/technology-use-among-seniors/
  3. https://www.thedoctors.com/articles/your-patient-is-logging-on-now–the-risks-and-benefits-of-telehealth-in-the-future-of-healthcare/?utm_source=pr&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=pr_external&utm_content=telehealth_whitepaper

Professional Liability Coverage: Understand Your Options

Choosing insurance for your practice is a big decision in many ways. That decision isn’t cheap, and can have huge financial implications for many years to come. The cost associated with risk mitigation can be substantial. Insurers spend a considerable amount of money investigating and defending claims before a suit ever makes it to court. Such an important decision is stressful, demanding, and time consuming.

Buying a policy is not a static, singular event, but rather a set of decisions that evolves with your practice. It’s a good idea to evaluate your coverage annually, including a quick check of the competition. Take a look at your practice’s history over the past year, taking note of whether any significant changes you’ve made might affect your malpractice coverage needs.

It’s important to know your state’s malpractice insurance minimum requirements (if applicable) before purchasing a policy. Also consider your own asset protection needs, which may vary greatly based on your risk-aversion mentality. It might be in your best interest to work with a professional consultant to determine the appropriate type and amount of coverage for your particular situation.

As a professional in the health care industry, you know that the territory comes with its own set of challenges. A simple professional liability policy will not provide adequate coverage for you and your staff. Specific policies encompass a number of nuances, including generic vs. specific language, types of claims covered, and policy effective vs. claims dates. Additional coverages that are available can range from legal, data security, and regulatory liability coverage too.

Lastly, when reviewing a policy, pay attention to the following elements:

  1. Specific coverage details
  2. Conditions, exclusions
  3. Financial limitations
  4. Policy definitions
  5. Subcontractor liability
  6. Litigation-related costs
  7. Reporting period (claims made vs. claims occurrence)

Contact us today. We would be happy to educate you about your coverage options to ensure your coverage provides peace of mind for you and your practice.

Footnotes

  1. https://www.benzinga.com/money/best-professional-liability-insurance/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2793838/
  3. https://content.naic.org/cipr_topics/topic_medical_malpractice_insurance.htm
  4. https://www.whitecoatinvestor.com/how-to-buy-medical-malpractice-insurance/