How telemedicine can help patients

Failure to Diagnose on Tuesday, May 16, 2017.

Pennsylvania residents usually believe that their doctors are most often correct. However, getting a second opinion during a virtual meeting with a physician may reduce the odds of a misdiagnosis. Using the internet to meet with a doctor or specialist may be ideal because a patient doesn’t have to travel. Instead, the meeting can be held securely and privately in a patient’s home.

Employers are increasingly adding such services to health care plans offered to their employees. Health care companies are also partnering with companies that offer telehealth or telemedicine services in an effort to help patients find reputable physicians to obtain a second opinion from. While it is not designed to usurp the role of a local physician or care provider, the information gathered by outside medical experts could help create an accurate diagnosis for a patient.

According to a medical journal, around 12 million Americans annually experience errors on tests done during outpatient care. A misdiagnosis could have a variety of consequences such as a delay in getting proper care, getting unnecessary treatments that may have side effects or experiencing adverse reactions in general. These errors may also result in an eroded quality of life as well as negatively impact a patient’s finances.

Those who have received a misdiagnosis may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit against the negligent physician. In order to prevail, the plaintiff will have to demonstrate that the error resulted in harm and constituted a failure to exhibit the required standard of care, and the plaintiff’s attorney will often endeavor to do so through the use of opinion testimony from one or more medical experts.