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New trends present new risks for medical malpractice

Each time an individual visits their doctor or seeks medical attention at a New York hospital, personal information regarding everything from their medical history to their medication list to their contact details becomes accessible to a number of other parties. That is why strict policies and safeguards are in place to protect patient confidentiality. With advances in technology and changing approaches to modern medicine, however, some fear that the rights and privacy of patients may be at risk, leading to other issues like medical malpractice.

As the world becomes ever more digitized and comfortable with smart phone and cloud technologies, more and more people are familiar with the idea of using devices, programs and applications to help manage their everyday lives and lifestyles. As such, technology developers like Microsoft and Apple are continually working to create products that help monitor the health of users. In fact, the entire American medical system is beginning to embrace many forms of technology that allow doctors to have instant access to real-time information regarding their patients' health and wellness. The passage of the Affordable Care Act has resulted in more emphasis on preventative care and wireless medical charts, and doctors across the country are interacting with their patients in new ways.

That does not mean, though, that such advances come without their own unique risks as well. Some that oppose accessing and storing patient information wirelessly doubt whether such content is protected under patient privacy laws, and others are concerned by the fact that some programs do not have to comply with FDA guidelines. Beyond that, many physicians and medical professionals fear that serious mistakes resulting from the use of such technology can lead to medical malpractice claims. 

Source: PBS, “Doctors monitor patients remotely via smartphones and fitness trackers,” Daniela Hernandez, March 10, 2014

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