Do Virtual Patient Visits Increase Your Risk of Being Sued?

Neil Chesanow


October 22, 2014

In This Article

e-prescribing Regulations Vary Widely

State regulations for eprescribing as part of a virtual visit vary widely too. In some states, for example, a physician is prohibited from prescribing "dangerous" drugs or devices online—this is California's verbiage—without an in-office patient exam first.[4] Which drugs are considered dangerous aren't specified in the regulation.

In some other states, Schedule II drugs, drugs for psychiatric conditions, some sleep medications, or controlled medications in general either cannot be prescribed as part of a virtual visit or can be prescribed online only if the patient has been examined by the prescribing physician in the office first. In New Jersey, Indiana, Tennessee, Colorado, and Idaho, physicians can't do e-prescribing as part of a virtual visit, period, regardless of the drug.[5]

In Arizona, on the other hand, the law on online prescribing states: "Physicians are prohibited from issuing a prescription to patients without having a physical or mental health status examination to establish a provider-patient relationship." However, the examination "can be conducted during a real-time telemedicine encounter."[6] No other restrictions on medication prescription are specified.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.
Post as: