With increasing demands on GPs, the rise of telemedicine is set to continue. Providers will need to ensure that they comply with legislation around supply of medicines across the internet and insurers for doctors undertaking online consultations will need to check that providers have appropriate governance systems so duties are appropriately discharged.

 As the healthcare market opens up to more independent sector providers there are likely to be opportunities to capitalise on developments in robotics and AI. Recent press reports suggest that the use of AI to interpret breast mammograms is more accurate than the dual radiologist approach and clearly a lot less time consuming.  However, the promise of benefits to patients and clinicians brings with it some significant risks, for example around patient safety and data security. In Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare, the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges recommended that patient safety must remain paramount and access to data must be predicated on information handling and governance standards being met. Impact on the delivery of care is likely to gather pace following the launch in 2019 of NHSX, the DHSC/NHSE/NHSI joint venture, which will oversee the implementation of new technology and set national policy and standards.

Manufacturers, suppliers and users of AI and robotics need to ensure their governance systems are robust and that the boundaries of their accountability are clearly understood. Risks around operator training, experience and assessment, record keeping, manufacturer guidelines, regulatory compliance, indemnity coverage and data security will continue to present challenges. Particular care needs to be taken with AI as the sheer number of different types of intelligence creates an inherent difficulty in pinpointing the likely place where legal liability will fall.  Add in the fact that the algorithm may well evolve from the one in place at the start of the process and you have the potential for a ‘perfect liability storm’. Read our Insight on the use of robotics in surgery.

Medical Malpractice Forward View 2020

This article is part of Capsticks’ Medical Malpractice Forward View 2020. Read the other articles featured in this publication below:

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Capsticks advise and support medical malpractice insurers and healthcare providers on all aspect of medical law including claims, inquests and regulatory proceedings.

To discuss how any of these issues may affect your organisation, please get in touch with Majid HassanAnna WalshPhilip Hatherall, or Joanna Bower.