You can now consult with your doctors through telephone or video calls. The government has released the much-awaited guidelines that allow registered medical professionals (RMPs) to offer consultations, counselling, medical education and treatment from remote locations through the use of technology.
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In India, till now there was no legislation or guidelines on the practice of telemedicine, through video, phone, Internet based platforms (web/chat/apps etc).
Besides providing timely and faster access, telemedicine will also reduce financial costs associated with travel. It also reduces the inconvenience/impact to family and caregivers and can reduce the burden on the secondary hospitals.
The guidelines also assume significance in the context of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“A telemedicine visit can be conducted without exposing staff to viruses/infections in the times of such outbreaks. Telemedicine practice can prevent the transmission of infectious diseases reducing the risks to both health care workers and patients,” the document said.
However, the RMP will decide on whether tele-consultation is a viable option, and can recommend in-person consultation if warranted.
The RMP will also decide what mode or technology can be used for such consultation. All such tele-consultations must adhere to the legal and ethical standards and practices mandated by the Indian Medical Council.
While regular prescriptions are allowed, Doctors cannot prescribe Schedule-X drugs over a tele-consult. The guidelines also say that a doctor cannot charge more for a tele-consult than an in-person consult, though he/she may charge a separate fee for offering this service. In emergency cases, tele-consult can be used to provide first aid and counselling.
The guidelines say that RMPs cannot insist on tele-consult if the patient is willing to travel or requests an in-person consultation. Also, RMPs are not permitted to solicit patients for telemedicine through ads or other inducements.
Telemedicine consultation should not be anonymous; both patient and RMP must know each other’s identity.
The RMP has to mandatorily maintain log or record of telemedicine interaction, and also patient records, reports, documents.
For full list of the guidelines, click here: