The Practice of Telemedicine: Medicolegal and Ethical Issues

By Lateef, Fatimah | Ethics & Medicine, Spring 2011 | Go to article overview

The Practice of Telemedicine: Medicolegal and Ethical Issues


Lateef, Fatimah, Ethics & Medicine


Abstract

Generally, the medicolegal position of doctors in telemedicine (TM) consults is similar to telephone, fax, email, or communications by letters. All these amount to the provision of advice from a distance but where the usual standards of care and skills must apply. Patients permission, ethics and confidentiality issues still predominate, whilst right to privacy and autonomy must be maintained. TM places obligations on both distant and local providers. With time, the patient (also the consumer here) must become more educated about the nature, purpose, and use of equipment as well as both what TM can offer and its limitations. Any potential breaks in confidentiality must be addressed to enhance the level of patient satisfaction and maintain excellent standards in healthcare.

Introduction

With all the challenges facing the healthcare industry today, the burgeoning old and new mix of diseases, increasing public and patient expectations, as well as the evolution of technology, it appears healthcare personnel cannot run away from practising some degree of telemedicine. The gradual birth of telemedicine can be traced to advances in electronic modes of communications, radio, television, and personal computer usage.1,2

Telemedicine literally means the practice of "medicine at a distance", beyond geographical boundaries, i.e. the delivery of healthcare and the exchange of health information across distance. It encompasses diagnosis, treatment, prevention, continuing education, research, and evaluation. TM allows rapid access to shared and remote medical expertise by means of telecommunications and information technology, no matter where the patient or relevant information is located.1'3,4 It can enhance communications up and down the healthcare pyramid (Fig 1). 1

TM should be differentiated from telecare, which is defined as the provision of nursing and continuing support to patients at a distance, and telehealth, which is public health services delivered at a distance to people who are not necessarily unwell. All three have the common basis of requiring telecommunications networks.

Practice of Telemedicine

Today, there are many modalities of TM already in use and in different applications:3'5

1. Pre-recorded: this information is used in teleradiology, telecardiology, teledermatology, and telepathology

2. Real-time: this can be in the form of images (eg. telepathology, teleradiology, and emergency medicine) or videos (eg. telepsychiatry, teledermatology, teleENT, emergency medicine, tele-oncology and teleneurology). It is also applied in prehospital medical care in which paramedics communicate with doctors and medical control for advice and conveyance of information

3. Tele- education: this can be at different levels such as undergraduate, post-graduate, instruction for residents and trainees as well as part of continuing medical education for doctors and healthcare professionals

TM can be classified according to:

1. The type of interaction, i.e. between patient and doctor, between doctors or different specialists, or

2. The type of information being transferred, i.e. data, text, still images ( radiological images like X-Rays and scans or clinical photos) or moving images (video). These data and information can be pre-recorded and then transmitted or transmitted directly in real time.

The essential components of the TM system which will help to ensure it works and is sustainable, include:

a. Adequate and suitable personnel who are trained, familiar, and have ownership of the system and programmes,

b. The relevant technology, which will have to take into account the type of information to be transmitted, the speed of transfer, the quality as well as size of information to be transmitted, and

c. One or several champions for the programme. These are trained persons committed to oversee the system and encourage others as well as keep them motivated. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Practice of Telemedicine: Medicolegal and Ethical Issues
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.