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.