How to Manage Legal Risks as a Telehealth Provider:
Telemedicine Malpractice Insurance Coverage in 2021
ABOUT THE BOOK
Telemedicine involves using technology to deliver medical care from a distance. It has become a routine part of our lives since the COVID-19 outbreak in late 2019 and is practiced by medical professionals globally.
As is evident amongst many US providers, EU member states and other applicable countries, operating and providing telehealth across state borders raises concerns related to the role of the provider as the primary care physician; with the sole responsibility of generating the primary diagnosis, initial management, treatment, prescription and reimbursement via insurance providers (national or private).
Negotiating such complexities is a red flag for insurance providers as there are difficulties in cost containment and continuity of care for their coverage claimants. Ensuring that the right healthcare communication and services were rendered, with clear evidence of the correct billing and medical coding procedures is an added cost of operations.
Even though telemedicine facilitates convenience, affordability, and efficiency for both patients and physicians, it also provides an increased opportunity for adverse experiences that may lead to professional liability. Professional liability in medicine includes the possibility of getting sued based on damages arising from any form of medical work or consultation provided by a physician.
With the growing popularity and use of telemedicine, it has become an essential recommendation for doctors to procure specific insurance to combat the novel professional liability and malpractice claims that may arise from telemedicine.
Additionally, telemedicine regulations are considerably complex. They differ across states and even require a secure network and workspace to ensure that no one else can access the client’s data or listen in on conversations, which means networks must be HIPAA compliant.
With the right telemedicine insurance coverage, a physician is protected from malpractice and professional liability claims regarding practices that possibly resulted in physical injury, property damage, additional medical expenses, etc. It also covers the failure of products to perform, cyber and privacy coverage, and worldwide jurisdiction. There is also coverage for the cost of defending lawsuits related to these claims.
Malpractice coverage for technology-based service platforms, with a strong focus on digital health, will ideally receive customised review processes to understand their complete business model and operations, whether it purely telemedicine, telehealth with remote patient monitoring, digital prescriptions or other remote digital services. Providers who are employed under their services must receive adequate insurance protection whilst providing their virtual care processes.
Doctors employed in healthcare institutions, transitioning into telehealth, will upgrade their liability coverage based on existing relationships with their corporate insurance partners. Similar coverage may be applicable to public sector institutions who have some form of telemedicine services for their national constituents and other citizens in their immediate catchment area.
Individual healthcare professionals seeking to begin their own virtual care practice may need to be more wary of complex and risky operations that insurance providers will not agree to partner with, even with ‘good faith’ initiatives for their communities. Such potentially risky activities involve (and not limited to) primary remote diagnosis (with or without remote patient monitoring devices), internet prescriptions, prescribing controlled substances or potentially serious side effects due to the medications.
This ebook will educate and inform the entrepreneurial physician or private practice group on the key concepts and toptions available to acquire a cutomised comprehensive telemedicine malpractice insurance coverage plan, that is most suitable to their practice.