Telemedicine services has seen a huge boom during the COVID-19 pandemic, as more patients feel comfortable seeking out medical services and seeing their doctors online.
As part of the phasing in of the upcoming Healthcare Services Act, the Ministry of Health (MOH) plans to license telemedicine services in the middle of next year.
Earlier in February, it introduced a voluntary listing of direct telemedicine providers that have agreed to comply by certain measures such as ensuring their doctors or dentists complete MOH’s telemedicine e-learning.
There are now more than 600 telemedicine providers in the list, including public hospitals, clinics and telemedicine firms.
Only those listed are able to offer the Community Health Assistance Scheme (Chas) subsidies and MediSave for video consultations for follow-ups of chronic conditions from April 1.
It initially covered only seven chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and anxiety; but has been expanded in October last year to cover 20 other chronic conditions such as osteoporosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and ischaemic heart disease.
The Healthcare Services Bill was approved by Parliament in early January 2020. It replaces the Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics Act, which was enacted in 1980 and last amended in 1999.
At that time, the new law was slated to be implemented in three phases from early 2021 to the end of 2022. The new timeline is now from September 2021 to March 2023.
Featured Image Credit: After Clinic Hours