Draft Bill does not provide for detailed regulation
The advent of high speed internet and telecommunications has
made telemedicine possible in Russia. Aiming to overcome
geographical barriers and increase access to healthcare services,
more medical institutions are using telemedicine. With the growth
of IT infrastructure and network speeds, new online telemedicine
platforms have been launched over the past few years. Although de
facto telemedicine is used in the country, de jure it does not
exist, with no regulation specific to telemedicine. This means that
a remote diagnosis is not formally recognised and thus a patient
cannot be treated based on such a diagnosis.
The country's first attempt to regulate telemedicine and
eHealth was in 2001. The Ministry of Healthcare ('MoH')
adopted The Concept of Development of Telemedicine Technologies No
76, dated 27 August 2001 ('Concept'). Even though this did
not provide for legal regulation and the document was of a
declaratory nature, it provided some useful definitions. It defined
telemedicine as 'medical-diagnostic consultations,
administrative, educational, scientific measures in healthcare
carried out with the help of telemedicine technologies.' It set
out the main telemedicine trends in Russia, including:
Consultancy/mentoring where communication is established
between a patient and a consulting physician or a medical student
and a professor;
Telemonitoring of functional indications where patients'
data is transmitted to a consulting centre;
Telemedicine lecture/seminar where communication is established
with the lecturer speaking to all participants, and where the
participants can speak only to the lecturer; and
Telemedicine meeting, a symposium where all participants can
communicate with each other.
Four types of telemedicine consultation were established:
Where the patient's situation is discussed by the doctor or
medical consultant in the patient's presence or absence;
Where the patient's data is transmitted directly from the
Where the doctor consults members of a rescue team; and
Where the general public are provided with access to a
The Concept states that 'internet medicine' includes:
informational support on clinical medicine with respect to patient
consultancy; healthcare directory services; medical and statistical
information; access to library databases; information of an
administrative character; information in the sphere
of telemedicine; and plans on conducting conferences,
exhibitions and informational messages upon termination.
Implementation was a lengthy process. When the bill On
Information Communication Technologies in Medicine No. 308883-4 was
introduced in 2011 to Parliament, it was soon excluded from
consideration. In 2016, a new Bill on telemedicine was introduced.
Governmental organisations such as the Internet Initiatives
Development Fund drafted a bill No. 1085466-6 on amending federal
law On the Fundamentals of Health Protection in the Russian
Federation and Article 10 of the federal law On Personal Data (the
'Bill'). The Bill was introduced to the State Duma on 30
May 2016 and is still under consideration.
It defines telemedicine technologies as 'a complex of
organisational, technical and other measures used for rendering
medical services to the patient with the use of procedures, means
and methods of transmission of data via communication channels
which ensure authentic identification of the participants of
informational exchange, i.e. a healthcare practitioner and a
patient or his/her lawful representative.' The idea behind this
broad definition was to enable the MoH to adjust to industry
The Bill envisages two main goals of telemedicine: to establish
communication between health practitioners, and between health
practitioners and patients. In relation to the latter, the Bill has
as a condition that such communication must be aimed at determining
whether a live consultation is required.
The Bill resolves the issues of identification of healthcare
practitioners and patients in the course of rendering medical
services via telemedicine. The document does restrict medical
practitioners to certified doctors. In other words, the provisions
of the Bill enable the conduct of consultations remotely between
paramedics and certified doctors, often an issue in rural areas of
Russia with limited access to medical institutions.
Russian law does not contain any eHealth legislation but there
is no legal prohibition on a patient contacting their consulting
physician in any manner, including online. The current Bill does
not provide for detailed regulation but does draw telemedicine out
of legal uncertainty.
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