Are Georgia and U.S. Doctors Committing Medical Malpractice Online?
Posted on May 02, 2012
In March 2012, a research letter was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The research examined how doctors may violate professional conduct rules online. Researchers asked the 68 medical and osteopathic boards in the United States to answer questions about violations of professionalism by doctors online and about how the board disciplined doctors found to have violated those standards.
Researchers heard from 48 of the 68 Boards and found that of the 92% of the respondents reported there was at least one case of potential professional misconduct by a doctor on the Internet. The most common violations included:
- Inappropriate patient communication online. This included inappropriate sexual communication. 69% of respondents indicated at least one reported violation.
- Using the Internet for inappropriate practice. This included prescribing medication to people with whom the doctor had not established a clinical relationship. 63% of respondents indicated at least one reported violation.
- Misrepresenting their credentials. 60% of respondents indicated at least one violation.
Approximately 71% of the Boards report having hearings about the reported violations. Different consequences for doctors were imposed, as is the case with offline medical malpractice claims. Overall:
- 56% of the Boards took at least one serious disciplinary action including restricting a doctor’s license.
- 40% of the Boards report issuing a formal warning.
- 25% of the Boards report having at least one case were no action was warranted.
Professional misconduct by doctors may cause serious problems for patients whether it occurs online or offline. If you have been hurt, then our Georgia medical malpractice attorneys wish you a fast and full recovery.