<- Home <- Arhive <- Vol. 29, Issue 4, December 2021



Rom J Leg Med29(4)408-412(2021)
DOI:10.4323/rjlm.2021.408
© Romanian Society of Legal Medicine


TELEMEDICINE, BETWEEN MEDICAL BENEFIT AND MALPRACTICE: ACTUAL CONSIDERATIONS

M. Pană, A. M. A. Stănescu, O. Andronic, I. Năstasă, S. Pițuru, V. Jinga,


Abstract: Objective. Chronic disease is defined as a pathology that appears secondary to environmental factors, exposure, genetics, inappropriate lifestyle, or their combination. It is mandatory to emphasize the importance of chronic disease prevention strategies in order to delay their onset, reduce morbidity and mortality among patients, and decrease the costs of health systems and depletion of medical teams. Telemedicine is diagnosing and treating patients remotely through assisted telecommunication technology. Telemedicine has proven its importance, benefits, and low costs, being initially conceived to provide medical services to less accessible areas. At present, developed and several emerging economies have implemented large-scale telemedicine services. This has opened new debates regarding telemedicine’s legal, ethical, and regulatory issues. This review aims to understand the current state of the art related to the most common ethical issues in telemedicine, the real risk of malpractice and the solutions that have been found so far.
Methods. The current literature research that led to this review was carried out through the PubMed medical database, using specific words and excluding articles older than five years and articles not corresponding to ethical norms, rules, or malpractice in telemedicine. A small analysis base was created, consisting of 7 articles.
Results. Even though the malpractice case reports associated with telemedicine services are currently low, this service’s ethical and legal basis leaves much to be desired. Considering that the medical staff is the same one who practices standard medicine according to Hippocrates’ oath, we can state that the greatest danger of this service is for the medical staff and secondly for the patients, due to their legal unprotection.
Conclusion. In order to transform telemedicine into quality medical service, the ethical regulations must be uniform to those of the standard medical services and to maintain the pace of the technological development in place. The standardized ethical regulations of any country should consider patient informed consent, medical practice license, high standards of patient data protection, state-of-the-art technology to minimize verbal or imaging errors, and adequate patient education to use these services.
Keywords: telemedicine, malpractice, telehealth, ethics



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