What is "telemedicine" in Texas?

Nowadays, various forms of video technology have enabled Texans to be "face to face" with another person despite not being physically with that person. Many Houston residents have likely utilized technology such as Skype, FaceTime or similar applications in order to see the person with whom they are speaking via the phone or internet. This same type of technology is also used in the medical field and is known as telemedicine.

What exactly is telemedicine? Telemedicine is essentially the delivery of patient healthcare via a telecommunications system. Of course, most actual medical procedures cannot be performed via telemedicine; however, other aspects of patient care can often be handled in this manner. The protocol for telemedicine is essentially the same as it is with in-person care - the experience should not be any different for the patient than if the doctor were actually in the room with them.

For expecting mothers, they may occasionally experience telemedicine as part of their patient care. As with all forms of telemedicine, though, monitoring a pregnancy must be done within the standards of care for the OB/GYN profession or else pregnancy-related injuries could result. One of the more controversial areas of telemedicine is prescription writing. According to the American Medical Association, there should be a clearly established doctor-patient relationship before a physician prescribes medication to that patient via telemedicine delivery systems.

This subject has also sparked controversy here in Texas. Earlier this year, the Texas Medical Board accepted rule changes which prohibit many Texas doctors from prescribing medication over the phone to a patient whom they had never met. Supporters of the board's decision echo the stance of the AMA, arguing that an established relationship between doctor and patient is crucial for safe and effective telemedicine.

Unfortunately, OB/GYN negligence can come in many forms, including telemedicine. A doctor who does not have a solid relationship with their patients may commit errors in their treatment. When a doctor error affects a pregnant woman, there may be two patients who suffer. A Houston malpractice attorney can offer legal advice regarding women who may have received substandard telemedicine care during their pregnancies.