Bengaluru: In the world full of advanced technology, many patients and doctors in India are switching to online mode of medical consultations. Taking serious cognisance of the practice which seem to be in violation of the MCI code of Ethics, the Karnataka Medical Council has recently given warning to the doctors involved in providing treatment through online mode.
In a conversation with Medical Dialogues, President of the Karnataka Medical Council, Dr Veerabhadrappa confirmed that the online consultation of doctors with patient is against the law, therefore the doctors are strictly told not to indulge themselves in such illegal practices.
Online and Telephonic consultations may appear as an easy alternate for visiting a doctor’s chamber. With the rise of online portal in India, the consultations online appear comparatively cheaper than personal visits to the doctors. The consultations while providing an ease of access and budget, at the same time come at a cost of lack of the physical examination of a patient-an integral part of a medical diagnosis
Errors in such cases may have larger repercussions. Medical Dialogues team had earlier reported about the Bombay HC judgement in the case of telephonic consultations where it held that prescribing medicines to patients without diagnosis amounted to culpable negligence and turned down the anticipatory bail pleas of a doctor couple booked for the death of a woman patient.
The judgement at that time made the IMA write to the Medical Council of India (MCI) to specify the scope of telemedicine clearly especially when it comes to Online consultations, online prescriptions and telemedicine
The issue was once again brought to light when the Bangalore Dermatological Society (BDS) filed a complaint with the Karnataka Medical Council against an advertisement published in a newspaper by a tech health services company inviting doctors to join their panel of online consultants.
Responding to the matter Karnataka Medical Council recently issued a warning against such consultations to its registered doctors. “It is cardinal that online consultations are against the code of ethics since doctors need to see the patient physically and treat them clinically, which does not happen in case of online consultations. It may lead to further complications, which is nothing but playing with the life of a patient,” the New Indian Express quotes the state medical council as stating.
The council further clarified, “Merely because technology is advanced, it does not suffice treating patients online. Hence, it should not be executed.”
The medical council further added that ‘it is open to the idea of technology but only after doctors are properly trained and educated for virtual consultations.’
“Such consultations are detrimental to both patients as well as the doctor and may lead to many complications, which is nothing but playing with the life of a patient. The KMC can even go to the extent of initiating action (including cancellation of registration) against doctors who take up online consultations,” Veerabhadrappa H., KMC president, confirmed to The Hindu.