Is Telemedicine Legal?

Health Care Complaints Commission v Goyer- 2019

At Tego Insurance, we want you to know the latest in terms of consulting patients by phone.  As experts in Medical indemnity insurance Australia and Medical indemnity insurance costs, we want you to be up to date on the latest issues surrounding healthcare and communication.

The Story

In 2019, a medical practitioner was found guilty for co prescribing medications and consulting patients by telephone. The medical practitioner’s business was called Medical Weight Loss Institute (MWI) and was providing ‘telemedicine’. This entailed patients not being seen in person, but instead consulted by the staff either online or via telephone.

What was the Problem?

The main complaint was that the Medical Weight Loss Institute did not personally examine their patients before recommending medicine which were stimulants. In the

complaint, 25 patients who were seeking weight loss, were prescribed the drug without a physical examination.


Medical indemnity insurance


The Verdict

The Civil and Administrative Tribunal of New South Wales made a finding that the doctors and his staff’s conduct was serious enough to warrant the suspension or cancellation of his registration.

The Tribunal decided that the doctor was acting inappropriately, given that some of the patients had comorbidities such as hypertension, meaning that the effects of the drugs could have been harmful. 

The Tribunal also found that the doctor had very little regard to his responsibility to get informed consent from any patient before prescribing stimulants.

What you need to know

The Tribunal’s decision reinforces the seriousness of having face to face examinations and consultations and it is the practitioner’s personal responsibility at every turn. It is the obligation of the health practitioner to receive a proper medical history and always informed consent.

Tego Insurance Understands

If you are worried about communication via phone or online with a client, take the safe step by meeting the patient one on one before prescribing anything. Our experts can go over with you what Medical indemnity insurance and Medical Practice Insurance offers.

Tego Insurance offers medical indemnity insurance for medical practitioners. We have a profound understanding of the Australian healthcare profession and its complexities. 

The legal team at Tego Insurance are ready to help you deal with the legalities of communicating with your patients via the phone or online. With the laws changing, you need to protect not only your patients rights and wellbeing, but also your business and livelihood. From Doctors indemnity insurance and Medical professional indemnity insurance to GP medical indemnity insurance, we provide leading medical insurance that is innovative and flexible. Contact us to find out more.

This publication is general in nature and is not comprehensive or constitute legal or medical advice. You should seek legal, medical or other professional advice before relying on any content, and practice proper clinical decision making with regard to individual circumstances. Persons implementing any recommendations contained in this publication must exercise their own independent skill or judgment or seek appropriate professional advice relevant to their own particular practice. Compliance with any recommendations will not in any way guarantee discharge of the duty of care owed to patients and others coming into contact with the health professional or practice. Tego Insurance Pty Ltd is not responsible to you or anyone else for any loss su­ffered in connection with the use of this information.