Telehealth And Remote Monitoring: Expanding Healthcare Access While Protecting Patient Privacy In India

Agama Law Associates


ALA is a boutique commercial law practice offering end-to-end corporate-commercial legal solutions to Indian and foreign businesses. We offer a wide range of services tailored across sectors for private clients, startups and mature businesses. We have a cost-effective technology based model supported by a large network of associates. Commercial transactions and advisory is our forte, which includes contract management and standardization. Our disputes profile is advising and strategizing from a pre-dispute stage, and managing and driving the litigation across all courts and tribunals including the High Court, the NCLT and SAT
Propelled by the burgeoning landscape of telehealth and remote patient monitoring technologies, this is an exciting time for the healthcare sector, offering a glimmer of hope to bridge...
India Food, Drugs, Healthcare, Life Sciences
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Propelled by the burgeoning landscape of telehealth and remote patient monitoring technologies, this is an exciting time for the healthcare sector, offering a glimmer of hope to bridge the longstanding gap in accessibility, particularly for those residing in geographically remote areas. However, with this exciting development comes a crucial responsibility: safeguarding the sensitive nature of patient data.

Opportunities in a Booming Sector

For professionals involved in healthcare, telehealth and remote monitoring present a plethora of exciting avenues for business. Here's a glimpse into some key areas:

  • Subscription-based Services: Design tiered subscription plans catering to diverse patient needs. These plans could grant access to consultations with specialists, chronic disease management programs, and user-friendly remote monitoring tools. Companies like Practo and 1mg have already established themselves in this domain.
  • Data-driven Insights: Aggregate and anonymize patient data to unlock its immense potential. This anonymized data can be invaluable for research purposes and development of personalized healthcare solutions. Partnering with research institutions or pharmaceutical companies can foster data-driven collaborations that propel medical advancements.
  • Telehealth Equipment: Develop and market user-friendly devices for remote monitoring, such as blood pressure monitors, glucose meters, and smart wearables. Companies like Biosense Technologies and HealthifyMe are already making waves in this space by creating innovative and accessible solutions.

Beyond Profits: The Data Privacy Imperative

Despite the promising prospects, data privacy remains an unshakeable concern in this sector. The Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023 (DPDPA) classifies health information as "sensitive," imposing stricter regulations on how it's collected, stored, and used. Here's a deeper dive into key data privacy considerations that require attention:

1. Purpose Limitation and Data Minimization: The Pillars of Responsible Data Collection

  • Collect Only What's Essential: Resist the temptation to gather an excessive amount of information. Focus solely on data that's strictly necessary for the specific healthcare service being provided. For example, a mental health consultation doesn't require a patient's employment history.
  • Store Data for the Shortest Duration: Determine a clear data retention period based on the intended use and legal requirements. Don't hold onto data indefinitely. Regularly review and purge data that has reached its designated retention period.

2. Building Trust Through Transparency: Comprehensive Data Privacy Policies

  • Outline Data Collection Practices: Be upfront and transparent with patients about the type of data collected, the purpose of collection, and how it will be used. Foster trust by establishing a culture of openness.
  • Patient Rights Under DPDPA: Clearly detail patients' rights to access, rectify, or erase their data as outlined by the DPDPA. Empower patients to take control of their information.
  • Robust Informed Consent: Obtain informed consent from patients before collecting and using their data. The consent process should be clear, concise, and easily understandable. Avoid convoluted legal jargon and ensure patients can comprehend how their data will be utilized.

3. Fortifying the Digital Perimeter: Robust Data Security Measures

  • Implement Impenetrable Security Protocols: Employ industry-standard encryption methods to protect patient data at rest and in transit. Think of encryption as a digital vault, safeguarding sensitive information from unauthorized access and data breaches.
  • Regular Security Audits: Conduct periodic security assessments to identify and address vulnerabilities in your systems. Proactive measures are crucial in thwarting cyberattacks. Don't wait for a security breach to occur before taking action.
  • Employee Training: Train your workforce on data privacy best practices and the importance of data security. Educated employees are your first line of defense against data security breaches. Foster a culture of data responsibility within your organization.

Market Shift: Traditional Healthcare Reimagines Itself

The telehealth and remote monitoring space is witnessing a significant market shift, with traditional healthcare institutions adapting to this rapidly evolving landscape:

  • Legacy Hospitals Embrace Innovation: Large hospitals like Apollo and Fortis are integrating telehealth platforms into their existing services. This allows patients to connect with specialists remotely, particularly those residing in geographically distant locations or facing mobility limitations.
  • Start-up Disruptors Challenge the Status Quo: Innovative start-ups like Lybrate and DocsApp are challenging the established order by offering entirely virtual healthcare experiences. Their focus on convenience, affordability, and accessibility is attracting a new generation of patients, particularly those comfortable with technology and seeking a seamless healthcare experience.

SMEs vs. Big Corporates: Balancing Growth with Data Privacy

The legal implications for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and large corporations operating in the telehealth space differ:

SMEs: Resourceful Adaptability

Smaller players often lack dedicated data privacy compliance teams. They may face challenges in implementing robust security measures. However, their agility allows them to adapt quickly to changing regulations. By partnering with experienced data privacy lawyers, SMEs can ensure compliance with the DPDPA without incurring excessive overhead costs.

Large Corporations: Balancing Scale with Scrutiny

Large corporations, while possessing the resources to implement robust data security practices, often manage vast amounts of patient data. This can make them prime targets for cyberattacks. They must prioritize data minimization strategies and implement stringent access controls to minimize the risk of unauthorized data breaches. Additionally, large corporations must be particularly transparent about their data sharing practices, especially when collaborating with third-party vendors.


The burgeoning telehealth and remote monitoring sector offers immense potential for revolutionizing healthcare access in India. However, this progress must be accompanied by a resolute commitment to data privacy. By adhering to the principles of purpose limitation, data minimization, transparency, and robust data security, healthcare providers can build trust with patients and ensure the sustainable growth of this exciting domain.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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