The Legal and Socioeconomic Considerations in Spine Telemedicine

Roberto J. Perez-Roman, Delano R. Trenchfield, Nayda I. Perez-Roman, Michael Y. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Telemedicine has become indispensable in today's health care because of the recent ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Although it has been beneficial in coping with the pandemic, there is still much uncertainty as to whether it will have a permanent role in treating spine patients. Some of the ongoing legal challenges include patient confidentiality, liability coverage for treating healthcare workers, and financial reimbursements by insurance companies. One of the impediments of telemedicine is its lack of a standard legal framework. Telehealth is currently regulated through a state-based system with each state having its own policy regarding this practice. In addition, each of the components of a virtual visit represent a potential area for legal concerns. Nonetheless, telemedicine has the ability to provide convenient and effective health care to patients. However, the spine surgeon, as well as other physicians, must consider the legal issues along with some socioeconomic factors identified herein. Moreover, without parity and uniformity, the incentive to offer telehealth services decreases. There may be a need for modifications in the law, insurance policies, and medical malpractice coverage to strengthen their support to telemedicine usage. As spine surgeons become more familiarized with the telemedicine framework, its role in patient care will likely expand.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-371
Number of pages7
JournalNeurosurgery
Volume90
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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