Telehealth – what you need to know!

Law in a nutshell

Telehealth refers to providing medical care and helping patients using modern communication tools and information technology.

The German eHealth Act (“Act for Secure Digital Communication and Applications in Healthcare and for the Amendment of Other Laws”) creates a legal framework for how patient data should be handled in telehealth processes. This includes telehealth virtual visits, which have been permitted under German Social Code (SGB) Section V § 291g(4) since 2017. Also, Model Professional Regulations for Physicians (MBO-Ä) § 7(4) states that physicians should treat and counsel their patients in person but may treat and counsel them solely though communication media (telehealth virtual visit, etc.) in individual circumstances where medically appropriate.

In the end, the big challenge that physicians face from telehealth virtual visits is keeping data transfers secure. Highly sensitive health data must be handled in a digital infrastructure that cannot be accessed by third parties. This issue is addressed by Appendix 31b of the National Master Contract between the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds and the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians.

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