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Int J Med Inform. 2018 Apr;112:90-98. doi: 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2018.01.012. Epub 2018 Jan 31.

Trusting telemedicine: A discussion on risks, safety, legal implications and liability of involved stakeholders.

Author information

1
Department of Electrical, Computer and Biomedical Engineering, University of Pavia, Italy; Interdepartmental Centre for Health Technologies, University of Pavia, Italy. Electronic address: enea.parimbelli@gmail.com.
2
Interdepartmental Centre for Health Technologies, University of Pavia, Italy; European Center for Law, Science and New Technologies, University of Pavia, Italy.
3
Department of Electrical, Computer and Biomedical Engineering, University of Pavia, Italy; Interdepartmental Centre for Health Technologies, University of Pavia, Italy.
4
European Center for Law, Science and New Technologies, University of Pavia, Italy; University of Bolzano, Italy.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The main purpose of the article is to raise awareness among all the involved stakeholders about the risks and legal implications connected to the development and use of modern telemedicine systems. Particular focus is given to the class of "active" telemedicine systems, that imply a real-world, non-mediated, interaction with the final user. A secondary objective is to give an overview of the European legal framework that applies to these systems, in the effort to avoid defensive medicine practices and fears, which might be a barrier to their broader adoption.

METHODS:

We leverage on the experience gained during two international telemedicine projects, namely MobiGuide (pilot studies conducted in Spain and Italy) and AP@home (clinical trials enrolled patients in Italy, France, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Austria and Germany), whose development our group has significantly contributed to in the last 4 years, to create a map of the potential criticalities of active telemedicine systems and comment upon the legal framework that applies to them. Two workshops have been organized in December 2015 and March 2016 where the topic has been discussed in round tables with system developers, researchers, physicians, nurses, legal experts, healthcare economists and administrators.

RESULTS:

We identified 8 features that generate relevant risks from our example use cases. These features generalize to a broad set of telemedicine applications, and suggest insights on possible risk mitigation strategies. We also discuss the relevant European legal framework that regulate this class of systems, providing pointers to specific norms and highlighting possible liability profiles for involved stakeholders.

CONCLUSIONS:

Patients are more and more willing to adopt telemedicine systems to improve home care and day-by-day self-management. An essential step towards a broader adoption of these systems consists in increasing their compliance with existing regulations and better defining responsibilities for all the involved stakeholders.

KEYWORDS:

Legal aspects; Liability; Medical device; Practice guideline; Telemedicine; mHealth

PMID:
29500027
DOI:
10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2018.01.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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