New Russian law permits remote medical consultations and patient database

By on 25/08/2017
The Russian legislation paves the way for the creation of a patient records database and real-time remote consultations. Image: The National Cancer Institute, an agency part of the National Institutes of Health. Photographer: Rhoda Baer

Russian state healthcare providers will soon be able to offer remote consultations and prescriptions, under new legislation which also establishes a new nationwide patient records database.

The legislation, which comes into force next year, has just been signed into law by president Vladimir Putin. Civil servants will now begin work on creating a Unified State Health Information System, designed to link hospitals, health centres and healthcare authorities in a new database.

This database will hold electronic medical records for individual patients, and registers of patients with rare diseases. From 2020, the law envisages the integration of data from patients’ medical devices – permitting medics and patients to monitor their conditions online.

On-screen medical screening

The legislation also creates a framework enabling doctors to offer remote consultations via telephone and Skype. Before using this service for the first time, patients’ identities will have to be verified by a specialised doctor, who will also make an initial diagnosis and prescribe treatments.

Subsequently, patients will be able to consult this doctor remotely to ask additional questions. With their identities checked using electronic signatures or the state public services portal’s verification system, they will also be able to access electronic prescriptions from their GP.

In the future, commercial providers of telemedicine services will also be able to join the system. MTS, one of the leading Russian call companies, has said that the Russian market in telehealth services in Russia will reach 18bn rubles (€260m or US$300m) within a year. The state IT corporation Rostech believes that, including equipment and IT systems, the sector might be worth 300bn rubles (€4.3bn or US$5.1bn) by 2020.

About Anastasya Manuilova

Anastasya Manuilova is an economics reporter for the Russian newspaper Kommersant, covering welfare, labour markets, demographic change and the pharmaceutical industry

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