Propelled by the Covid-19 crisis, the government recently released “telemedicine practice guidelines”. Tanya Sadana and Sreenidhi Srinivasan of Ikigai Law hosted a webinar to discuss the legal and practical challenges of telemedicine. They were joined by Dr. Guriqbal Singh Jaiya (co-author of Fundamentals of Telehealth and Telemedicine, 2019) and Dr Manuj Garg (co-founder of healthcare platform myUpchar.com).
The discussion can be found here.
While Dr. Jaiya traced the history of these guidelines, Dr Garg walked us through the practical challenges with telemedicine practice. Both speakers agreed that the guidelines were a positive step – in that they granted much-needed formal recognition to telemedicine. The discussion touched upon a range of issues, including the evolution of telemedicine in India, the role of tech platforms that facilitate tele-consultations, practical considerations for doctors, privacy concerns with exchange of sensitive health data, and integration of emerging technologies.
Key issues discussed:
- A brief summary of the guidelines (3:30).
- Dr. Jaiya on the history of telemedicine in India and the stakeholders involved in the legal/ policy discourse around telemedicine (14:15).
- The legality of telemedicine so far and the need for formal guidelines (21:20)
- Professional judgment as the basis underpinning the guidelines (29:19).
- Dr. Garg on practitioners’ reservations in offering telemedicine or registering with telemedicine platforms (39:00).
- Practical guidance for doctors looking to offer tele-consultations (training, record-keeping, using specialised tools, etc.) (44:00)
- Privacy concerns with remote consultations (49:17, 57:58).
- The role of tech platforms and the due diligence required before on-boarding doctors (1:02:02).
- Identical guidelines issued by boards regulating Ayurveda, siddha and unani, and separate guidelines for homeopathy (1:06:15)
- Types of medicines that can be prescribed remotely (1:08:05)
- The process of patient identification/ patient KYC (1:15:48).
- The use of emerging technologies including AI and ML in the telemedicine space (1:19:30).
- Therapeutic areas best suited to telemedicine practice (1:23:34)
- The future of telemedicine/ what more should the guidelines do (1:33:00).
A summary of the guidelines can be found here.