Medical teleconsultations – new possibilities and legal and ethical dilemmas
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Katedra Prawa i Postępowania Cywilnego, Uczelnia Łazarskiego, Polska
Wojskowy Instytut Medyczny – Państwowy Instytut Badawczy, Klinika Chorób Wewnętrznych, Nefrologii i Dializoterapii, Polska
Submission date: 2023-08-16
Final revision date: 2023-09-20
Acceptance date: 2023-09-21
Publication date: 2024-05-13
Corresponding author
Aneta Łazarska   

Katedra Prawa i Postępowania Cywilnego, Uczelnia Łazarskiego, Polska
LW 2024;102(1):45-51
Introduction and objective: Medical teleconsultations, a necessity during the pandemic due to the existing epidemiological conditions, should now be subjected to a thorough, critical analysis and assessment for their compliance with the principles of medical ethics, patient rights and the doctor’s obligation to exercise due care. The aim of this paper was to perform a critical assessment of medical teleconsultations, their regulatory frameworks as well as recommendations of medical self-governing bodies. Material and methods: The current regulations of Article 42 (1) of the Act on the Medical Profession have been subjected to critical analysis in relation to the legal framework for providing medical teleconsultations. These include the Regulation of the Minister of Health on the organisational standard of teleconsultation within primary healthcare, as well as the recommendations of the Presidium of the Supreme Medical Council dated July 24, 2020, regarding the adoption of guidelines for providing telemedical services, pointing to a potential conflict with Article 9 of the Code of Medical Ethics. Therefore, this is a study within the field of law and medical ethics. Thus, the appropriate research methodology comprises legal doctrinal, axiological, and sociological methods. Results: Despite three years passing since the outbreak of the pandemic, the legislator has still not specified teleconsultation standards by way of an act. Furthermore, in accordance with Article 9 of the Code of Medical Ethics, the regulation does not specify the communication system. Teleconsultations are being overused today and do not guarantee patient safety, because only during teleconsultation can the doctor decide that it is not a sufficient form and the patient’s consent will be difficult to consider informed due to the lack of access to the doctor and the restrictions on regular visits. Conclusions: The COVID-related regulation makes teleconsultation a principle rather than an exception within primary health care, which could irreversibly alter the nature of medical advice and deteriorate its quality. The commercialisation of medical services cannot be the sole justification for the changes in the model of providing medical advice.
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