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Virtual Doctor Visits

Steve Wagner

It may seem like a great idea at first, a handy resource to keep in your back pocket for all those times you get a migraine, or your kiddos have a cut you’re uncertain about, but how in-depth and helpful can video conferencing with your doctor really be?

In a recent interview with Time Magazine, Robert M. Wah, President of the American Medical Association, expressed his belief in and support of these new medical video-conferencing services that are becoming so common. Services like Telemedicine, Amwell, and HealthTap are all giving people touch-of-a-button access to doctors, for a small fee.

Promoted as a service for minor incidents, second opinions, and emergency questions, these services may certainly be beneficial to some, but are they really helping people and eliminating the bottlenecks at doctor’s offices, or are they creating larger problems by giving people near self-diagnostic abilities? Instead of having a doctor perform a thorough in-person exam? There is also an issue of individuals who may take advantage of the system and “doctor shop” for prescriptions. What about the risk of misdiagnosis?

While the majority of the population shouldn’t be punished for the actions of the few who may take advantage of the service, there are implications of such access, and that medical malpractice injuries and damage will occur because of the inability to properly diagnose and prescribe through a video conference. It is also easy to imagine it would be very simple to prescribe the wrong type of drug for a tricky-to-diagnose injury or illness, as well as prescribe something dangerous to specific patients because of allergies, without proper medical history.

While the online services will no doubt help many, there are worries about the health and safety of the general public with this virtual access to doctors, especially those who suffer from multiple illnesses, or those who are prone to addictions and drug issues.

If you have questions about treatment you received through a virtual medical service, give the medical malpractice attorneys at Wagner Reese a call for more information on how we can assist you. Come meet with us for a free consultation, and find out whether you are eligible for compensation as a result of your injury.


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