The Disadvantages of Telemedicine: What You Need to Know

The Disadvantages of Telemedicine: What You Need to Know

11 Jan 2022
5 min

One of the most common disadvantages of telemedicine is that appointments are shorter than they would be if you were seeing your doctor in person. This can be due to time constraints on the part of the physician or because patients tend to discuss fewer issues during a virtual visit.

Either way, it means that patients may not have enough time to fully explain their symptoms or ask all the questions they have about their condition and treatment options.

Another issue with telemedicine is that it lacks the personal touch and human interaction of an in-person visit. During a video call, it's easy for things to feel rushed and impersonal. Doctors may miss out on important nonverbal cues like the body language and facial expressions of their patients.

If you are considering adding telemedicine to your practice, it is just prudent to know about the disadvantages of telemedicine first before you make a decision.

Disadvantages of Telemedicine

Telemedicine may not suit everyone. Here are some potential disadvantages of telemedicine for healthcare providers.

Licensing issues

State laws differ, and health practitioners may find it difficult to provide care out-of-state, depending on their state of licensure and the state of residence of the patient.

Technological concerns 

Finding a good platform for offering care online can be complicated. The internet connection must also be strong enough to offer good-quality service. Doctors must ensure that the telehealth system they are using is HIPAA-compliant and follows all privacy regulations.

No physical exam

Since providers can only work with what patients tell them during remote visits, they may need to ask more questions about their health histories. However, if the patient doesn’t mention a pertinent detail, it could lead to misdiagnosis.

Now let's talk about the disadvantages of telemedicine in detail.

Limited Time for Appointments

One of the disadvantages of telemedicine is that appointments are often shorter than in-person visits. This can be frustrating for patients who may have a lot of questions or concerns that they want to discuss with their doctor.

Lack of In-Person Interaction

One of the main disadvantages of telemedicine is the lack of in-person interaction. This can be a problem for both patients and doctors.

Patients may feel like they are not getting the same level of care as they would if they saw their doctor in person.

Doctors may also feel like they are not able to build the same rapport with their patients. You may not have the same opportunity to connect with your patient on a personal level when you're communicating via video chat or phone call.

Pros and Cons of Telehealth
(Telehealth Pros and Cons)

Possible Technical Difficulties

Although online doctors are convenient, there are drawbacks to using them. One big disadvantage is technology.

If your internet connection is spotty or your video chat software isn't working properly, you could have a frustrating telemedicine experience with your patient.

If the devices aren’t working, or there’s no power, or the internet is down, then you can’t work.

Some doctors are reluctant to use new technologies, preferring to stick with the traditional methods they are more familiar with. On the other hand, however, some professionals are willing to adapt to the new systems.

Key Takeaway: Some potential disadvantages of telemedicine include cost, difficulty getting an appointment, and lack of personal connection.

Security and Privacy Concerns

Telemedicine has come under fire in recent years due to concerns about security and confidentiality.

Another potential risk is miscommunication during a video call, which could lead to serious consequences.

There is also the danger of hackers trying to gain access to confidential patient information.

While most telemedicine platforms have security measures in place, there is always the possibility that someone could find a way to break into the system. This could lead to a breach of patient privacy and could even put patients at risk if their medical information was to fall into the wrong hands.

Although there are some disadvantages to telemedicine, it is important to remember that the advantages often outweigh the disadvantages.

Telemedicine can be a great way for doctors to reach patients in remote areas, save money on travel expenses, and improve communication during consultations.

However, it is important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision about whether or not to use telemedicine in your practice.

Pro Tip: When selecting a telemedicine software for your telemedicine services, consider a comprehensive platform like Upvio that offers appointment scheduling, telehealth video functionality, secure chat, a virtual waiting room, form builders, vital sign scanning, and file sharing. It is fully compliant with HIPAA regulations to ensure the security and privacy of patient information, streamlining the telemedicine process for both patients and providers.

Key Takeaway: The pros of telemedicine outweigh the cons when long-term benefits are considered.

While the upfront costs of setting up a telemedicine system may be higher than traditional methods, the long-term costs tend to be lower. This is because telemedicine can help to improve patient outcomes and reduce the need for expensive in-person visits.

It’s important to remember that telemedicine is not a replacement for in-person care. There are still some situations where in-person care is the best option. For example, if a patient is experiencing a life-threatening emergency, they will need to be seen by a doctor in person.

Key Takeaway: Telemedicine has advantages and disadvantages that must be considered before using it in your practice.

One of the biggest drawbacks of telemedicine is the lack of clarity and consistency in policies regarding its use. This makes it hard to implement for doctors and even harder for patients.

Meeting the guidelines for practicing medicine via video conference can be complicated. Some doctors don’t want to bother with figuring out the requirements in their states.

While certain problems in the health industry, such as the lack of interoperable electronic health records, can further complicate using telehealth, some doctors are hesitant to use it when it seems like the healthcare landscape is always in flux.


Overall, the disadvantages of telemedicine should be considered before making the decision to use this type of care. While it can be convenient and efficient, there are some potential drawbacks that could impact your experience.

Be sure to weigh all the pros and cons before deciding if telemedicine is right for your practice.

If you are not getting the most out of your telemedicine platform, maybe it's time to switch to Upvio.

Upvio's scheduling and telehealth software can enhance communication and coordination among team members, resulting in greater efficiency and productivity regardless of team size.

Try it for FREE today!

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