Amendments to the telemedicine regulation to go into effect in January 2023Dec 19, 2022

The Rules of Medical Diagnosis and Treatment by Telecommunications amendments have been announced. According to the 60-day notice period, the plan is expected to go into effect after mid-January next year, which will significantly relax the scope of telemedicine from five to ten categories, including chronic long-term drug care and international medical treatment.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare's deputy minister Chung-liang Shih recently gave a speech to explain that the amendment to the law was notified on November 24, with four major amendments, including "allowing more special circumstances", "increasing the number of items appropriate for telemedicine", "relaxing prescriptions" and "increasing cybersecurity regulations".

The categories of "allowing more special circumstances" have been increased from five to ten, and the new categories include: long-term care for chronic illnesses, care for terminal illnesses, care for mobility impairment, care for disasters and infectious diseases or other major changes, and international medical care, etc.; the number of "communication and treatment items" has also been increased from six to eight, and the new items are consultation, examination, test list, consultation and prescription. The Ministry of Health and Welfare will expand the scope of the "cybersecutirty regulations" to include the production and management of electronic medical records for medical institutions.

In addition, the government is also encouraging medical corporations to set up branches in Southeast Asia, so that Taiwanese businesses in these countries will have the opportunity to access Taiwan's medical services through telemedicine. 

The biggest change in the service model is the implementation of telemedicine," said Shih. In particular, since the outbreak of the epidemic in Taiwan in May this year, primary care has initiated video clinics, allowing 98% of patients to be treated at home, and with the cooperation of 2,000 community pharmacies across Taiwan, 15% of antiviral drugs are delivered to homes through the community.

He said that from May last year to November 17 this year, a total of 5.87 million people in Taiwan received telemedicine and more than 11.29 million cases were reported.