This series highlights common medicolegal issues in general practice. Written by a team from medical defence organisation Avant, the series is based on actual situations, with details changed for privacy and some issues summarised for the sake of discussion. This scenario explores the emerging issues for GPs, who are rapidly having to adapt to telehealth consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although telehealth was well established in some communities before the COVID-19 pandemic, the move to almost exclusively technology-based consultations over the period of a few weeks has been a sudden shift for many medical practitioners and patients. Processes had to be implemented quickly and with a sense of urgency. Some weeks after the initial emergency, doctors and practices are gradually working through the processes and support they need to provide patient care effectively without face-to-face consultations. As GPs providing telehealth consultations and responding to concerns and queries to our medical defence organisation, we discuss our insights and suggestions for addressing some of the issues we have encountered.