Advancements in computer technology and telecommunications have meant that all diagnostic images can now be acquired as digital signals, however the ethicolegal concepts surrounding this innovation remain unclear. In the UK there are limited practice guidelines on legal issues relating specifically to telemedicine or teleradiology. It is not yet clear whether the current law relates to telemedicine in the same way that it does for other medical specialties, or whether telemedicine raises new legal issues that need clarification. This article attempts to outline some of the potential legal issues, but the absence of case law and legislation in this area will ensure that many questions remain unanswered. The legal implications of teleradiology/telemedicine are addressed, and literature, laws and professional guidelines from the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand are reviewed, focusing on the American licensure laws, professional relationships with patients with regards to liability, responsibility, accountability and duty of care issues, as well as issues of missed diagnosis, misdiagnosis, security and confidentiality. Teleradiology, while being actively practised worldwide, gives rise to many unanswered medicolegal questions. It is suggested that guidelines need to be implemented to safeguard patients and professionals alike.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging