As the pandemic of coronavirus sweeps through the United States, many of us have drastically altered the way we go about our daily life. Schools are shuttered, many businesses have temporarily closed their doors, and most of the population is practicing social distancing—giving each other a good six feet of space.
But while COVID-19 is the main focus of everyone's thoughts these days, life goes on. People are still getting sinus infections or suffering from allergies as spring begins to bloom, and others have maybe developed a rash that is bothering them. Adapting to this new landscape is essential, and many Americans are embracing telemedicine as a way to be treated for their common ailments during the coronavirus outbreak.
Rather than putting themselves at risk to go to their doctor's physical office to be seen for a mild illness, more folks are choosing to use video conferencing to connect with their physician. Telemedicine has been around for years, but this month alone has seen a huge surge in the number of people taking advantage of it. The HeyDoctor platform alone did more than 600 coronavirus screenings in one day last week.
The government and many private insurance companies are now covering more telemedicine visits just as they cover in-office visits, which has led to more doctors to be willing to use the service. Medicare announced that they would allow all their enrollees to use telemedicine, not just those in rural or remote areas. Doctors are now allowed to see Medicare patients even if the patient is from out-of-state.
While telemedicine may be a great way to avoid exposing yourself to sitting in a waiting room with other potentially sick people, it's not without its flaws. Telemedicine is a great way to help people get a sinus infection diagnosed, but it is no substitute for a face-to-face visit with your doctor. Misdiagnoses are bound to happen with telemedicine and could potentially leave you vulnerable to a more serious ailment.
Then there is the concern about the security of medical data. As we wrote about before, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) had reported that well before the coronavirus outbreak, over a million people had had their private medical information breached by hackers in the first month and a half of 2020 alone.
If you are concerned that a telemedicine visit has left you with a misdiagnosis that has harmed you, or you suspect that your private medical information was breached due to negligent security practices, you could have a medical malpractice case. During the coronavirus, we are available to teleconference with you to determine if you should proceed with filing a case. Contact us today to learn more.