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MCNZ cautions patients about telemedicine

www.mcnz.org.nz - 12/2/2015MCNZ caution

The Medical Council today cautioned patients about some of the potential pitfalls of telemedicine and at the same time highlighted the need for doctors practising telemedicine to be aware of Council's expectations when using technology to diagnose and treat patients.

Council chairman, Mr Andrew Connolly says the reality is that telemedicine will increasingly become mainstream, but the challenge is how to manage it and ensure that there are appropriate standards to protect patients and to ensure the competency of doctors practising telemedicine.

'We are working closely with the New Zealand Telehealth Forum to develop safe and effective telemedicine systems and processes'.

The Council has a number of Statements on Telehealth, the Use of the internet and electronic communication and Good prescribing practice that Mr Connolly is encouraging doctors to become familiar with.

'Doctors practising telemedicine have a responsibility to both their patients and themselves to know what Council's expectations are in this new area of medicine.'

'The concept of telemedicine is a fantastic one that potentially offers benefits to both patients and doctors alike.

'But it is important that both patients and doctors are aware of the pitfalls of undertaking consultations on the internet, for example, a diagnosis made purely online, without a physical examination has the very real potential to be wrong.'

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