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AMA: Key Steps for Minimizing Liability Risk in Telemedicine

Include defining minimum requirement necessary for establishing doctor-patient relationship

FRIDAY, Feb. 27, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Key steps should be taken to minimize the potential risk of liability resulting from use of telemedicine, according to an article published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

In an effort to help physicians navigate the murky waters of telemedicine, the AMA provides insight into the potential liability climate resulting from use of telemedicine, and offers key steps that can minimize this risk.

According to the article, the minimum requirements necessary for establishing a doctor-patient relationship need to be defined; this is crucial in determining whether the doctor has a duty to the patient. In addition, it needs to be determined who owns the data available to both patients and physicians, such as the health data available from wearable technology such as FitBits. Medical liability carriers should include telemedicine and data-related risks in policies. Furthermore, physicians and other health practitioners providing telemedicine services must abide by state licensure laws and requirements and state medical practice laws.

“As part of its telemedicine principles, the AMA is calling for educational resources to help physicians navigate this emerging field,” according to the article. “The principles also advise physicians to make sure their liability insurance covers telemedicine services — especially for patients in other states — before engaging in such activities.”

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