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IML to organise national consultation on Legal & Regulatory Framework for Telehealth

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Meeting to focus on issues related to data privacy, security and confidentiality; the link for registrations: https://www.imlindia.com/nationalconsultation/

The Institute of Medicine & Law will be organising a national consultation on Legal & Regulatory Framework for Telehealth – Issues in Data Privacy, Security & Confidentiality on September 27, 10.30 am to 12.30 pm. Express Healthcare is the Media Partner for the Consultation.

This consultation is to take forward the discussions held at the 5th National Convention on Medicine & Law 2020 held on July 5, 2020 which had a session on ‘Legal & Regulatory Framework for Tele-Health – The way forward”.

The Convention concluded that issues relating to data privacy, security, and confidentiality are of utmost importance but have not been given due importance in the current legal and regulatory framework. This national consultation, held virtually due to pandemic restrictions, is an attempt to further discuss and deliberate at length on the same.

The ‘Telemedicine Practice Guidelines 2020’ were notified by MCI on March 25, 2020 probably because of the need for social / physical distancing in this pandemic. But the organisers note that neither the doctors nor the patients seem to be enthused by this development and its use is abysmally low in India.

Data privacy is a big concern not only among patients but equally among the doctor community, especially when it comes to using third party apps or platforms.

The issues and concerns that need further discussions and deliberations are:

  1. Shortcomings in the current Telemedicine Practice Guidelines
  2. Need for a comprehensive and inclusive legislation governing Telehealth and data security

iii. Specific Regulatory Bodies / authorities to deal and / or punish

  1. Regulating access of data / interoperability
  2. Regulating Electronic Health Records (EHR) / e-pharmacies / mobile application developers / mobile device manufacturers / mobile service provider / technology platforms / other IT related service providers
  3. Identifying / defining agencies having access and / or control and their respective role and responsibilities, especially doctors

vii. Ensuring that the doctors’ responsibilities are bare minimum

viii. Need of specific consent for data from patients

  1. Patients right to correct / delete
  2. Stricter penalties
  3. Whether ‘Privacy rule, security rule and the breach notification rule’, ‘privacy by design’, and / or such other concepts will be helpful in the Indian context

Efforts are therefore required to discuss, deliberate, and suggest appropriate changes required in the current legal and regulatory framework to ensure that the intended benefits of telemedicine are enjoyed by all the stakeholders without fear or concerns.

This National Consultation will discuss and deliberate on the above issues and suggest appropriate recommendations and / or provide clarifications on contentious issues relating to data.

According to the organisers, the purpose of the consultation is to suggest changes in laws / procedures / regulations, incorporate the recommendations from these discussions and deliberations in the white paper of NCML 2020, update and create awareness amongst policy makers about the required changes and spread awareness amongst hospitals, doctors, police, and other stakeholders about the legally correct procedures

Participants in the national consultation are expected to include former judges of constitutional courts, lawyers, doctors, hospital administrators, IT experts (Indian and international) as well as patient groups.

Link for registrations: https://www.imlindia.com/nationalconsultation

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