Creating a medical advice website-liability issues

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coalcracker
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Creating a medical advice website-liability issues

Post by coalcracker » Wed Jan 14, 2015 9:23 am

I have an idea for a medical advice website that I believe would fill an unmet need for patients. I have never created a website nor authored this type of advice in the past. My preliminary design would include an initial set of articles/posts written by me, and a forum for patients to ask questions directly.

Although I would enjoy writing the articles and answering questions, eventually I would hope to make side income from this website. I have a bunch of questions:

-I would love to keep it simple initially, but I realize if I am posting medical advice I may set myself up for liability issues. I'm guessing I would have to put a disclaimer that this should not replace your doctor's advice, blahblahblah. Is there a way to do this without getting a lawyer involved?

-Could I do this anonymously? I realize with some minor digging people could find out who I am, but I would rather not put my real name out there for the casual viewer.

-Without going into too much detail, the topic would lend itself to personal "consults" specific to each patient. This would be something more lenghty and involved than a reply to a forum post. Would it be possible/wise to set this up as a paid service? This would involve reviewing medical reports the patient already has in their possession.

Any other advice is welcomed. Thanks!

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JDCarpenter
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Re: Creating a medical advice website-liability issues

Post by JDCarpenter » Wed Jan 14, 2015 9:58 am

coalcracker wrote:I have an idea for a medical advice website that I believe would fill an unmet need for patients. I have never created a website nor authored this type of advice in the past. My preliminary design would include an initial set of articles/posts written by me, and a forum for patients to ask questions directly.

****

-Without going into too much detail, the topic would lend itself to personal "consults" specific to each patient. This would be something more lenghty and involved than a reply to a forum post. Would it be possible/wise to set this up as a paid service? This would involve reviewing medical reports the patient already has in their possession.

Offering personalized advice based on your review of individual's medical records? Notify your carrier; there may be no way to disclaim liability on this. If you are serious about including this service ancillary to the website, you want to get legal guidance in setting it up (although the guidance may consist of: "don't do it.") The other stuff could be finessed, but this likely will pose issues.
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bottomfisher
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Re: Creating a medical advice website-liability issues

Post by bottomfisher » Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:16 am

coalcracker wrote:-Without going into too much detail, the topic would lend itself to personal "consults" specific to each patient. This would be something more lenghty and involved than a reply to a forum post. Would it be possible/wise to set this up as a paid service? This would involve reviewing medical reports the patient already has in their possession.

Any other advice is welcomed. Thanks!
Sounds like doctor patient relationship to me and likely your medical licensing board as well. You are already referring to them as your 'patients' as well. Our state has specific regulations regarding 'telemedicine'. Your state may as well. You should inquire with your state board. Our board specifically states that 'telemedicine' may only be utilized for established patients. FYI here are some other stipulations :
In consideration of the above, and in line with our on-going desire to facilitate the use of telemedicine technologies in the delivery of medical care, the Board wishes to advise physicians that the use of telemedicine technologies[3] to communicate with established patients between regularly schedule office visits will not, for purposes of enforcement, be considered telemedicine provided the following conditions are observed: (i) such interactions may only be used with an established patient (e.g., those with whom there has been a face-to-face office visit); (ii) the patient’s medical record is available to the physician; (iii) such interactions would not be used to address any condition that would require a physical examination; (iv) the patient maintains the option of being seen by the physician if the patient or physician believes that the complaints warrant a face-to-face interaction and/or physical examination; and (v) such interactions shall not be used to prescribe controlled substances.
Additionally, if it were a paid service for medical consultation, then certainly HIPPA laws would come into effect and necessitate changes to the 'forum' approach to providing advice.

kenner
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Re: Creating a medical advice website-liability issues

Post by kenner » Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:28 am

coalcracker wrote:I have an idea for a medical advice website that I believe would fill an unmet need for patients. I have never created a website nor authored this type of advice in the past. My preliminary design would include an initial set of articles/posts written by me, and a forum for patients to ask questions directly.

As a trial attorney who has handled medical/legal issues for a few decades, I would say there is no simple answer to your query. But this is probably as good a forum as any to initiate this discussion. There are many knowledgeable posters here, including physicians.

I agree that very many people would appreciate having online access to an MD who can offer advice regarding medical questions.

In the liability cases I have handled, the paramount question I have dealt with is this: Is there a highly qualified physician in the appropriate medical specialty who is willing to testify under oath that the accused physician offered advice/treatment that deviated from recognized standards of medical care and resulted in injury to the patient? I typically get on a plane and meet with top physicians at Harvard or Yale to determine whether or not they believe the standard of care has been violated.

Uneducated people blame lawyers in malprctice cases, but the truth is that only doctors are legally qualified and allowed by courts to testify under oath as to whether a fellow doctor was negligent in causing harm to a patient.

In simpler terms, at least in my state, generally, no one can win a medical liability case unless a credible medical doctor testifies under oath that another doctor was negligent.


Although I would enjoy writing the articles and answering questions, eventually I would hope to make side income from this website. I have a bunch of questions:

-I would love to keep it simple initially, but I realize if I am posting medical advice I may set myself up for liability issues. I'm guessing I would have to put a disclaimer that this should not replace your doctor's advice, blahblahblah. Is there a way to do this without getting a lawyer involved?

Yes, you could do it, but since this may be in part legally state-specific, local legal advice is probably best.

-Could I do this anonymously? I realize with some minor digging people could find out who I am, but I would rather not put my real name out there for the casual viewer.

Doubt that anything posted on the internet can really be considered totally anonymous.


-Without going into too much detail, the topic would lend itself to personal "consults" specific to each patient. This would be something more lenghty and involved than a reply to a forum post. Would it be possible/wise to set this up as a paid service? This would involve reviewing medical reports the patient already has in their possession.

Again, what would medical peers say about giving medical advice without a hands-on evaluation of the patient? Every case is different.

Any other advice is welcomed. Thanks!

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obgyn65
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Re: Creating a medical advice website-liability issues

Post by obgyn65 » Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:56 pm

To the OP - are you really planning to proceed with this project without getting legal advice? I would strongly recommend against doing so.
"The two most important days in someone's life are the day that they are born and the day they discover why." -John Maxwell

Purelife304
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Re: Creating a medical advice website-liability issues

Post by Purelife304 » Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:01 pm

Hasn't Dr. Oz been doing a similar thing to this, just on national TV? That's not going so well for him....

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morn ... tudy-says/

+1 Talk to lawyer(s)

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pondering
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Re: Creating a medical advice website-liability issues

Post by pondering » Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:05 am

Did this effort ever become a website?

Are there other websites that do the same thing?
--Robert Sterbal | 412-977-3526 call/text, I find speech easier than writing

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