Telemedicine remains primarily a supplement
Precisely in times like these, when the world is struggling with a historic pandemic, the possible use of telemedicine is particularly topical and necessary. This may be seen from the recently reintroduced possibility to grant sick leave to patients over the phone. Our public health law and data protection expert Thomas Riesz answered questions on this controversial topic at a round table hosted by the daily newspaper Die Presse. Moreover, he engaged in lively debates with representatives from the insurance industry and the medical profession.
From a legal point of view, it was revealed that beyond data protection the physicians’ law also has an important say in the permissibility of telemedical services. Concerning physicians’ law, when it comes to telemedicine the principle of immediacy must be taken into account. While telemedicine as a supplement to the usual treatment of the patient probably causes few difficulties, a complete telemedicine treatment of the patient – if such is wanted at all – requires an adaption of the existing physicians’ laws.
As far as data protection law is concerned, telemedical services must not only comply with the GDPR, but also with the Health Telematics Act. Above all, this requires proof of the identity of the counterpart, the confidentiality of the disclosure of health data and their integrity.
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11. November 2020
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