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In-store clinics, 'telemedicine' and the death of windfall malpractice judgments
Date:5/22/2014

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The changing medical landscape brings exciting ways to deliver medical services, O'Reilly says, but a fair amount of concerns too.

"Telemedicine has great potential but also the possibility for great mischief," O'Reilly says. "We're finding more cases where a nurse is giving the advice and if it's a really significant case, the doctor comes on video and offers an evaluation from a remote location. In that circumstance, we have questions about whether he or she can actually do an appropriate evaluation."

Further complicating things, O'Reilly says many of the newly insured will have "deferred maintenance" issues, or medical problems they have long ignored for various reasons, such as they lack money or sufficient health insurance coverage. These cases are fraught with risk for doctors and could lead to lawsuits for missed diagnosis or the wrong diagnosis.

As O'Reilly explains in his book, the dramatic changes to health care mean the medical malpractice field must change too. He says cases where a patient goes to court directly against his or her family practitioner will become more of a rarity.

Instead, patients seeking compensation for medical mistakes will increasingly be pitted against large hospital-based accountable care organizations or federally backed health centers and lawyers must adapt accordingly. Taking on the federal system in Washington, D.C., or a mega-hospital's cadre of lawyers requires a much different approach than the traditional lawsuit against a neighborhood doctor in local common pleas court.

"The ultimate end point is people injured by mistakes should be compensated by the people accountable for the mistake. I think everybody can agree to that," O'Reilly says. "It's just a much more diverse set of defendants and a much more complicated decision for compensation."


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Contact: Tom Robinette
tom.robinette@uc.edu
513-556-1825
University of Cincinnati
Source:Eurekalert

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