Health accreditation and control discuss controls and standards for regulating telemedicine services

Mona Zeidan

Posted on: Thursday, June 2, 2022 – 11:12 | Last updated: Thursday 2 June 2022 – 11:12

Ashraf Ismail, chair of the General Authority for Health Accreditation and Monitoring, stressed the importance of developing a sound regulatory and legal framework for “telemedicine” practices, which has become a fait accompli through information technology and the Covid-19 crisis was imposed, which demonstrated. the urgent need to maintain the safety of the patient and the physician.

He pointed out that the initiative adopted by the Health Accreditation and Control Authority to study the draft “Telemedicine Act” from its various angles stems from the authority’s role in regulating and controlling the Egyptian health sector in a way that rights of beneficiaries guarantee to acquire. a safe and quality health service.

This came during his speech at the end of a series of workshops organized by the Health Accreditation and Monitoring Authority throughout the month to discuss “the future of telemedicine in Egypt”, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Population, the Supreme Council of the University Hospitals, and with the participation and support of the World Health Organization in Egypt. With the aim of establishing the regulatory framework for the different activities related to “telemedicine” services, with the participation of all parties involved in the health sector, through 4 scientific workshops that intensively discuss the different dimensions related to the subject on the clinical, technical, financial and legal levels.

He pointed out that the scientific methodology followed by the government in organizing the discussions, with the active participation of various parties in the discussion of the “telemedicine” draft law, provides a panoramic picture of all the details that the law must including, taking into account the interweaving of relationships, and the specificity applicable in different medical cases And the required licenses, which are reflected in the issuance of rules and standards for the registration and approval of telecommunications health services, and the extension of their application in the comprehensive health insurance system.

He thanked all the participants, led by the Egyptian Medical Syndicate, who laid the first building block by organizing the “Telemedicine” conference last February, which reviewed the different views and experiences that already exist for the uses of telemedicine , and thank the team that works. in the technical office of the authority due to the effort Leading scholar to document the outputs of the workshops.

Dr. Naima Al-Qasir, the representative of the World Health Organization in Egypt, during her speech at the closing workshop emphasized the importance of the participation of the private sector and civil society in the discussion of the draft law to develop an integrated vision providing full support to the efforts of the General Authority for Accreditation and Health Control to establish controls and standards for “telemedicine”.

Dr. Islam Abu Youssef, Vice-Chair of the Health Accreditation and Monitoring Authority, explained that the transformation of digital health with its various components is a reality that will inevitably increase, requiring specific definitions to be agreed upon and a clear space for local and cross-border services, in addition to considering the development of a proportionate digital health management system. With the rapid technological developments, and the reforms taking place in the Egyptian health sector, it points to the great consequences of this on Egypt’s position at the forefront of the global medical tourism map, and emphasizes confidence in the outcomes of the Egyptian health system.

Hossam Abu Sati, Executive Director of the General Authority for Accreditation and Health Control, explained that the use of “telemedicine” in the comprehensive health insurance system can be an effective solution to many of the obstacles facing the application of the system, especially with governorships with a large area that can reach distances between gatherings. Its population reaches more than 80 km, such as South Sinai and Luxor, but this must be done in accordance with standards and controls that first require the issuance of a comprehensive and integrated law.

Dr. Ahmed Safwat, a member of the Board of Directors of the Health Accreditation and Monitoring Authority, reviewed the key results of data analysis and participation during a series of workshops he led, leading to the last workshop on the legal and legislative aspect of the future of “telemedicine”, in addition to presenting an initial draft of the bill, emphasizes the construction of a sound law must be compatible with a correct and integrated business model subject to continuous evaluation, based on an understanding of societal needs and problems, the definition of achievable goals, as well as the study of the risks of implementation, which we aimed to achieve through the participation of the various stakeholders in the workshops.

He added that the correct working model for “telemedicine” should be integrated in terms of clinical, financial, technical and legal terms, as well as taking into account the privacy of Egyptian society away from the application of ready-made templates for other countries.

In turn, dr. Hazem Mustafa, Assistant Secretary to the Supreme Council of University Hospitals and Director of the Teldiagnosis Project, praised the organized effort made by the Health Accreditation and Control Authority to establish the correct rules for safe health services in collaboration with various authorities, and notes that “The Presidential Initiative for Remote Diagnosis and Treatment” “This is a groundbreaking experience and a model that can be benefited from, as it includes 300 units equipped with special equipment for remote diagnosis at the Republic level, which allows the patient to follow up his condition with a doctor in the unit, who in turn communicates with a consultant or a professor at the University Hospital to explain the disease situation, and to present the patient’s x-rays and analyzes And he explained that the possibility of remotely locating the patient with special devices is the essential difference between n the presidential initiative for distance diagnosis and any other distance diagnosis that exists in Egypt.

In a related context, dr. Muhammad Al-Wahsh, Vice-Chair of the National Assembly’s Health Committee, pointed out the misuse of social media and the danger of many consultations and medical prescriptions being spread on it, which can cause serious complications that could lead to the patient’s life because every medical case has its own privacy, as well as the importance of verifying the doctor’s identity and whether or not he is qualified in the first place to practice telemedicine, with the emphasis that the “Telemedicine” Act must set determinants for everything related with to provide the service, which we expect from the results that the Accreditation and Health Control Authority is working hard to achieve As a locomotive for health care in Egypt.

In the same context, dr. Ayman Salem, Secretary-General of the Medical Syndicate, said that the Telemedicine Act must take into account all the circumstances surrounding the application of the telemedicine service, especially the technical dimension and the clear framework within which the technological platforms are used in the service and the operate rehabilitation of doctors.

It is noteworthy that most of the participants’ participation at the clinical level did not tend to limit the scope of the medical specialties in which telemedicine could be used, or to limit the use of various emergencies and non-emergencies, while control measures and restrictions on the manner in which each type of service is provided and complied with to ensure the safety of the patient and efficiency of service delivery.

The participants also focused on the fact that “telemedicine” should not be rendered as an independent service away from the original medicine and the usual treatment methods, and it should not create a parallel system to the current ordinary medicine, but it was considered as an ancillary service intended to reach patients in remote locations or suffering from a lack of specialties that support certain or the junior physician in collaboration with the larger physician and so on.

In terms of the financial aspect, the participants discussed how to use “telemedicine” in the comprehensive health insurance system with the same controls that prevent abuse, and the legal and procedural framework as a whole.

On the technical side, participants ‘opinions focused on maintaining patient confidentiality, discussing service delivery tools and data storage and processing mechanisms in a secure framework that ensures patients’ privacy.

As far as the legal aspect is concerned, the experiences of countries and the outputs of previous workshops have been reviewed and a concept has been drawn up that contains the opinions of the participants towards licensing telemedicine service providers and about the efficiency, effectiveness and integrity of service delivery. to ensure.

A group of active institutions in the Egyptian health sector participated in the workshops held in Cairo, including: the Egyptian Medicines Authority, the General Authority for Uniform Procurement, the Health Care Authority, the Universal Health Insurance Authority, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the General Syndicate of Physicians, and the Chamber of Health Service Providers from the sector The private sector, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, companies from the private sector, the Health Committee of the People’s Assembly.

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