The Karnataka Medical Council (KMC) has warned the hospitals or companies against online medical consultation.The KMC’s decision comes in the wake of a complaint filed by the Bangalore Dermatological Society (BDS) on an advertisement published in a newspaper by a tech health services company which invites doctors to join their panel of online consultants.The spread of such websites and mobile apps that connect patients with do
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The Karnataka Medical Council (KMC) has warned the hospitals or companies against online medical consultation.
The KMC’s decision comes in the wake of a complaint filed by the Bangalore Dermatological Society (BDS) on an advertisement published in a newspaper by a tech health services company which invites doctors to join their panel of online consultants.
The spread of such websites and mobile apps that connect patients with doctors has again raised concerns and questions about the medical ethics of this profession.
Last year, in August, the Indian Medical Association had got clear-cut guidelines from the Medical Council of India (MCI) on the issue of telephonic medication and online consultations, while observing that the practice is illegal and unethical.
The KMC has advised doctors against engaging in such online consultations stating that it is contrary to the regulatory body’s code of ethics. Veerabhadrappa H., KMC president has said that such consultations are damaging to both patients as well as the doctor and might lead to various complications and can result in playing with the life of a patient. The KMC can even cancel the registration of the doctors who take up online consultations.
According to the MCI Code of Ethics Regulations, 2002, soliciting of patients directly or indirectly, by a physician or by a group of physicians or by institutions or organizations is unethical.
Companies approach the doctors to join their panel for a fee. The more a doctor pays, the bigger he is been projected as the best doctor. Many young doctors who are working in corporate hospitals are asked to provide online consultations. Few of them might not be able to survive the pressure by their seniors and can suffer consequences, according to R. Raghunatha Reddy, president of BDS.
He further said that, a history of the ailment and clinical examination is needed to prescribe any medication. Ethically, a doctor can prescribe medicine or advise treatment only on physically seeing a patient and so, telephonic and online consultation is unethical.
BDS secretary Jagadish P. said that there is always a possibility of allegations and finding negligence on the part of the doctor by the legal forums. Also, it is harmful for patients too as online consultation can end up with a wrong diagnosis. They can also develop complications as several medicines might have side effects. He said that marketing on the internet and advertising is not permitted in the medical profession and cannot be a substitute for face-to-face consultation and physical examination of the patient.