A Review of Telemedicine Guidelines in the South-East Asia Region

Parth Sharma, Manik Inder Singh Sethi, Andrian Liem, Hakikat Bir Singh Bhatti, Vatsala Pandey, Anoushka Nair

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Telemedicine use has increased for the past few years, and data security-related issues have also accompanied this. Barriers such as poor digital literacy, unaffordability, and ethical and legal issues have also affected the uptake of digital health. Telemedicine guidelines can help in promoting a suitable environment for wider uptake of telemedicine services by focusing on training, supervision, and monitoring of service providers. This policy review compares the telemedicine guidelines of countries in World Health Organization (WHO) South-East Asia Region (SEAR) as these countries have similar sociocultural backgrounds. Methodology: Latest telemedicine guidelines of the South Asia Region of the WHO were accessed using the official government websites of the countries. The guidelines that were not in the English language were translated into English using Google Translate. The guidelines were analyzed and presented under the following subheadings: (1) Definitions, Purpose, and Tools of Telemedicine; (2) Clinical Aspects of Telemedicine; and (3) Operational and Technical Aspects of Telemedicine. Results: Investigating the telemedicine guidelines in the SEAR of the WHO revealed that only 5 out of 11 countries, that is, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia and Nepal, have guidelines specifically for telemedicine. Besides Thailand, the other four countries either published (India, Nepal, and Bangladesh) or updated (Indonesia) their telemedicine guidelines after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Guidelines from India and Bangladesh are detailed and robust compared with those from Nepal, Indonesia, and Thailand. Conclusion: Telemedicine guidelines need to be more robust to improve the uptake of the service. Further research is needed to explore the effectiveness of implementing these guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-278
Number of pages8
JournalTelemedicine Reports
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023

Keywords

  • e-health
  • policy
  • telehealth
  • telemedicine

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