South Korea begins nationwide telemedicine pilot
From September this year, the South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare will officially begin the nationwide telemedicine pilot supervised pilot period of three months.
The service is currently offered to the following patients:
people with chronic diseases who have completed their first in-person visits;
pediatric patients seeking follow-ups (only during holidays and at night);
people living on islands and other remote areas;
seniors over 65 years old; And
people dealing with infectious diseases
THE GREATER CONTEXT
Telemedicine is once again not allowed in South Korea after the country temporarily allowed its conduct during the pandemic as part of its emergency response. In June, the government lowered its public health alert, marking the end of the temporary implementation of telemedicine after three years.
While lawmakers still do In its work to institutionalize telemedicine, MOHW launched a pilot program to continue offering citizens an alternative option to access care. It was previously reported that approximately 14 million Koreans received telemedicine care between February 2020 and January 2023.
A pre-pilot launch was implemented over the past three months. Recently, the Ministry of Health convened the project’s advisory group to review it and discuss project management and contingencies.
During the meeting, it was raised that some hospitals had broken the rule against prescribing commonly used medications through telemedicine. In response, the Department would like to impose sanctions for future violations, such as reducing claims and issuing refunds.
Meanwhile, it was also put forward that the current criteria for accepting patients was restrictive: access to telemedicine is allowed for patients with chronic diseases who have completed their first in-person visits within a year, and for patients with non-chronic diseases who made their first visit. personal visits within 30 days.
In response to this feedback, the MOHW will revise and update its guidelines. It plans to expand access to telemedicine for patients living in areas where there are fewer or no hospitals.
Furthermore, it was shared during the meeting that there is a need for a measure to prevent indiscriminate prescribing through telemedicine; further specifying which medications may not be prescribed via telemedicine; and dissemination of publicity materials on the use of telemedicine.