COVID-19 Pandemic has put Telehealth as an Important Solution for Delivering Needed Care

June 23, 2020

The Doctors Insurance Agency provides Telemedicine Malpractice Insurance.

Before telemedicine really took off in the light of national and statewide shelter-in-place orders, it was already growing exponentially.

In a recent study that examined health care payer claims between 2005 and 2017, health insurance members made almost 385,000 telemedicine visits, and usage climbed from a minuscule 0.02 visits per 1,000 members in 2005 to 6.57 visits in 2017.

Now the COVID-19 pandemic has put telehealth in the spotlight as an important solution for delivering needed care outside of a hospital or doctor's office.

Effective telemedicine relies on effective and successful technology, medical devices and professional diagnosis. Therefore, telemedical malpractice policies must cover the physicians and the organization against claims in the event of technology or professional failure. Additionally, the policies must contain network security and cyber data liability limits.

Telemedicine is used in almost every specialty, and now is even implemented pre- and post-surgery and delivery. Examples of telehealth includes health education services, remote monitoring of vital signs, ECG or blood pressure and remote doctor-patient consultations (telemedicine).

Telemedicine is the exchange of medical information from one site to another through electronic communications. This is done for the purpose of improving a person's health. There are three main types of telemedicine: store-and-forward, remote monitoring and real-time interactive services. Each of these has a beneficial role to play in overall health care and, when utilized properly, can offer tangible benefits for both healthcare workers and patients.

Telemedicine Options

Depending on your healthcare provider's setup, they can use telemedicine for consultations. Your doctor can forward diagnostic images such as X-rays and your medical history to a specialist for them to review. The doctor consulting through telemedicine may have enough information to make a diagnosis and even create the appropriate treatment plan. If not, they can contact you or your doctor for more information. Together you all can decide on the best treatment plan.

Some healthcare professionals have remote patient monitoring systems set up. These remote systems are constantly collecting and sending data to other healthcare agencies for interpretation. This is an important step forward for telemedicine because even if you are homebound, you can easily get your latest health information over to your doctor. A nurse can come to you and set up all the equipment in your home, conduct the needed tests, and transmit the data to the doctor before the close of business.

Telemedicine is great for doctors and people seeking medical diagnosis and treatment. Medical facilities are not always nearby. Receiving treatment or information can be almost impossible. Telemedicine can help save a life.

Advantages of Telemedicine

Telemedicine gives you access to specialists and information that you might not readily have access to otherwise. During a telemedicine consultation, you usually have a chance to tell the doctor about your medical history and ask questions. In turn, the specialist can ask you questions directly.

This telemedicine setup is better than trying to provide information to your doctor or nurse, and then having them relay the message. The specialist can hear the sound of your cough or see your swollen eyes. You can hear firsthand about your diagnosis and treatment options. Telemedicine is considered a regular healthcare service. In most cases, it should be billable to your health care insurance without issue.

Disadvantages of Telemedicine

According to studies, telemedicine may save money, both for the person receiving treatment and for the provider, when compared to traditional care. One of the main disadvantages is availability and cost. You may not have access to telemedicine services. It can be expensive for providers to set up and maintain. Telemedicine may be too costly for smaller healthcare facilities.

With the rapidly rising cost of healthcare, and the fact that's it nonexistent in some places, the need for telemedicine continues to grow. It may not be the right option for everyone, but the pros seem to outweigh the cons.

Telemedical malpractice insurance includes tech liability, professional liability and cyber liability. It is important that the broker and the insurance carrier are experienced and understand which insurance carriers can provide the right policies to cover physicians in each state with premiums that are sustainable.

Important components of telemedical malpractice policies

  • Our policies cover physicians, chief medical officers, executives, medical directors, private equity investors, mental health counselors, physical therapists, and others. The definition of insured should include all of these professionals, financial and medical, working on behalf of the organization.
  • In the event of a breach of data, the policy should respond to rebuild the technology, including the website and the mobile app, restore the data, and notify those who have been breached.
  • These policies should also account for civil fines and penalties related to these confidential Hipaa violations.

The telemedical malpractice policy should include tail for canceling physicians and allow for easy underwriting for on-boarding doctors within 24 hours, so they can begin meeting your increasing demand. They should allow for blanket coverage of doctors with tail covered. The Doctors Insurance Agency has worked in this space for over 10 years, and has experience and professional agents ready to help you.