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How to Decrease Liability When Using Telehealth

To decrease the liability, when using telehealth associated with electronic records or communication, a patient should be formally informed of the risks beyond the control of a medical practitioner. It is advisable that the patient provides documented informed consent accepting the possibility of risks. The healthcare professional sending electronic communication to a patient should also request acknowledgement of receipt. Most importantly, physicians must make sure they are using a telehealth platform that is HIPAA compliant.

Contrary to popular beliefs, video consultations with platforms such as Skype, are not HIPAA compliant. Reason being, Skype does not appear to offer any audit control or breach notification tools to alert you if there has been an unauthorized disclosure of ePHI (electronic patient health information). Ensuring diligence in these matters will prove that a physician has made utmost effort to protect an individual’s confidential health data. In addition to this, healthcare professionals involved in telehealth should also carefully monitor and review their ethical and legal mandates as defined by their respective state medical boards, at regular intervals to prevent negligence and to remain updated in this regard.

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