Last time, we began looking at the issue of telemedicine, the risk of medical malpractice liability specific to the practice of telemedicine, and the issue of informed consent. As we noted, Mississippi is among a group of states which have progressive laws pertaining to the practice of telemedicine, including required insurance coverage and required informed consent.
Physicians practicing telemedicine in the state of Mississippi are required to obtain the consent of a patient before providing such services. The measure requires physicians to inform patients not only about the treatment itself, but also the risks and benefits of receiving treatment through telemedicine and how to go about receiving follow-up care or help in the event of an unforeseen outcome or equipment failure.
The idea behind the measure, naturally, is to ensure that patients receiving telemedicine services receive the information they need to make good choices with their own health care. Providing informed consent is obviously also a protective measure for physicians. When a physician provides full informed consent, the patient has a limited ability to pursue the physician for failure to inform.
Failure to abide by informed consent law, whether in telemedicine or ordinary medical care, doesn’t always have drastic results for a patient, but it can in some cases. Patients, especially those who are particularly unsophisticated when it comes to medical care, are not always able to sort out when a medical provider has failure to fully inform them, and it may be more difficult to figure out in the context of telemedicine.
Those who feel they may not have received the information necessary to make a well-informed decision about their own care should always work with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to have their case evaluated and to determine the best course of action.