Indiana Law Review
medical malpractice, Internet, telemedicine, first amendment, cyberdoctors
This Article explores some of the historical background and uses of the computer in the education and support of patients as well as some current World-Wide Web sites available to educate consumers and physicians. While professionals in the field of health are concerned about the sudden proliferation of over 10,000 Internet web sites devoted to health and medical information, the existence of these sites points out that people are intrigued by medical information. The very strength of the Internet lies in the ability of users to freely express their views on any topic, including health care. Also, this Article focuses on medical malpractice, dividing liability for medical malpractice into several discrete categories: very limited liability for simple patient education, arguably protected by the First Amendment; moderate liability for specialist's consultations and advice; and the potential for serious liability incurred by the actual practice of medicine, diagnosis, and treatment of patients on the Internet. However, this Article recommends adopting limits on liability for physicians because of the public interest involved in allowing open access to health information and treatment. Finally, in the wake of this burgeoning computer health care industry, the liability issues for standards of care must be resolved, as well as jurisdictional issues regarding which state laws apply to consumer litigation of claims.
Barbara Tyler, Cyberdoctors: The Virtual Housecall--The Actual Practice of Medicine on the Internet Is Here; Is It a Telemedical Accident Waiting to Happen? 31 Indiana Law Review 259 (1998)