Moving Encounters

Videoconferencing technology now allows me to conduct patient encounters while the patient drives their car. And, yes, I have suggested they pull over to complete the encounter while parked.

It occurs to me that this adds a new dimension to the mental status exam: driving ability. Video allows me to assess motor function to the extent of observing ability to walk and use a smartphone or computer, but even in the office I cannnot assess driving ability. Will this become a new standard of care?

What about liability? If a patient causes injury in an accident during a videoconference in motion, will a court find the treater liable? (Please do not show this post to any plaintiffs’ attorneys.)

If the driving appears impaired, must I call 911 to alert police?

Add cars to the list of patient locations during videoconference encounters: vacation homes, parks, schoolyards, and offices. Where have your patients been (and what have they been doing) during videoconference encounters? Ferris wheels? Submarines? Flying an airplane? Riding a horse?


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