Telehealth’s Risks to Physicians and Patients Examined in New White Paper

Napa, CaliforniaAugust 12, 2020—Telemedicine use skyrocketed during COVID-19—by the end of April, visits in the U.S. had risen to nearly one million per week. While telemedicine can provide sweeping benefits, healthcare providers must also be aware of existing and emerging risks to protect themselves and their patients. The Doctors Company addresses these risks and how to mitigate them in a new white paper, Your Patient Is Logging on Now: The Risks and Benefits of Telehealth in the Future of Healthcare.

While medical malpractice claims involving telemedicine have been minimal in the past, these claims may increase as telehealth—which includes telemedicine, remote monitoring, asynchronous data collection, and a variety of other incorporations of technology into nonclinical patient and professional health-related areas—continues to gain popularity. The white paper examines foreseeable future risks such as:

  • Missed diagnoses, particularly of cancer.  
  • Increased cyberattacks.
  • Breaches to patients’ privacy.
  • Decreased access to care for some patients without access to internet, with language barriers, or a lack of technological savvy.
  • Uncertainty around the future of reimbursement.
  • Lack of proper licensure as physicians perform state-to-state care.

“This white paper reflects our mission to advance the practice of good medicine and our commitment to serve healthcare providers so they can help others during the pandemic,” said David L. Feldman, MD, MBA, FACS, chief medical officer of The Doctors Company Group. “For example, during the pandemic, telemedicine patients may refuse to come into the medical practice for further evaluation. We advise physicians on how to be prepared for such incidences so they can focus on caring for those who need it the most.”

“We also invited experts to contribute advice on reducing risks so providers and patients can take advantage of telehealth’s many benefits such as increased access to care for most patients, enhanced ability to manage chronic conditions, and reduction of infection risks,” Dr. Feldman added.

The paper includes commentary from Til Jolly, MD, FACEP, chief medical officer of Aveshka and senior consultant for emergency care to the assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the Department of Health and Human Services; Michael Leitman, MD, dean for graduate medical education, designated institutional official, professor of surgery, and professor of medical education, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York; Ashish Atreja, MD, MPH, chief innovation officer of medicine and head of Mount Sinai’s AppLab; and Milton Chen, PhD, who has worked with many small practices and large systems to implement telehealth and telemedicine services. 

About The Doctors Company
Founded and led by physicians, The Doctors Company ( is relentlessly committed to advancing, protecting, and rewarding the practice of good medicine. The Doctors Company takes the mal out of malpractice insurance by helping hospitals and practices of all sizes manage the complexities of today’s healthcare environment—with expert guidance, resources, and coverage. The Doctors Company is the nation’s largest physician-owned medical malpractice insurer, with 80,000 members and $5.9 billion in assets, and is rated A by A.M. Best Company and Fitch Ratings. To learn more about data-driven insights and to stay up to date on industry trends, follow and subscribe to The Doctors Company on Twitter (@doctorscompany), YouTubeLinkedIn, and Facebook.