Telehealth Opportunities Arise as South Korea Opens Door to Telemedicine

02 April 2014 Health Care Law Today Blog

All eyes in the field of mHealth and telehealth technologies are focused on South Korea at the moment. After a longstanding prohibition on telemedicine, South Korea’s Cabinet passed a bill allowing doctors to utilize telehealth technology to diagnose and treat remote patients. The bill was approved on March 25, 2014 at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Chung Hong-won, and has been sent to the National Assembly for passage. Telehealth has also received the support of South Korean President Park Geun-hye, who expressed her intent in January to position the telehealth industry as a growth engine for the country.

Historically, the widespread practice of telemedicine in Korea has been restricted by a provision in the medical practice laws that permits medical consultations only when the doctor is able to examine the patient in-person and face-to-face. In October 2013, Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare announced a plan to allow the use of telehealth technology to diagnose remote site patients (The plan also included a proposal to allow hospitals to create for-profit subsidiaries). In response, members of the Korean Medical Association threatened a doctor strike. However, a membership vote in early 2014 reflected that over 60% of the Korean Medical Association was in favor of the government’s telemedicine plan, and the doctor strike was suspended.

Under the current plan, South Korea will implement a six-month telemedicine pilot program, after which it will enact a bill allowing for telemedicine and for-profit subsidiaries. Patients with chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, people with disabilities and people living in remote areas will all be prime candidates for telemedicine services. Patients will be able to consult with doctors, receive diagnoses, and prescriptions for medications without an in-person visit. If the pilot program is successful, the telemedicine bill would be effective in 2015.

Opening the door to telehealth and mHealth in South Korea presents exceptional business opportunities to the health care industry, particularly manufacturers and suppliers of telehealth technologies.

This blog is made available by Foley & Lardner LLP (“Foley” or “the Firm”) for informational purposes only. It is not meant to convey the Firm’s legal position on behalf of any client, nor is it intended to convey specific legal advice. Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Foley & Lardner LLP, its partners, or its clients. Accordingly, do not act upon this information without seeking counsel from a licensed attorney. This blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Communicating with Foley through this website by email, blog post, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. Therefore, any communication or material you transmit to Foley through this blog, whether by email, blog post or any other manner, will not be treated as confidential or proprietary. The information on this blog is published “AS IS” and is not guaranteed to be complete, accurate, and or up-to-date. Foley makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation or content of the site. Foley expressly disclaims all other guarantees, warranties, conditions and representations of any kind, either express or implied, whether arising under any statute, law, commercial use or otherwise, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Foley or any of its partners, officers, employees, agents or affiliates be liable, directly or indirectly, under any theory of law (contract, tort, negligence or otherwise), to you or anyone else, for any claims, losses or damages, direct, indirect special, incidental, punitive or consequential, resulting from or occasioned by the creation, use of or reliance on this site (including information and other content) or any third party websites or the information, resources or material accessed through any such websites. In some jurisdictions, the contents of this blog may be considered Attorney Advertising. If applicable, please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Photographs are for dramatization purposes only and may include models. Likenesses do not necessarily imply current client, partnership or employee status.

Related Services

Insights

Do You Know What IMMEX Stands For?
16 July 2019
Dashboard Insights
Does The U.S. Need STRONGER Patents?
16 July 2019
PTAB Trial Insights
California Establishes Fund to Combat Wildfire Threats
15 July 2019
Renewable Energy Outlook
There’s No Place Like Home – But Is That a Reasonable Accommodation?
15 July 2019
Labor & Employment Law Perspectives
Review of 2020 Medicare Changes for Telehealth
11 December 2019
Member Call
2019 NDI Executive Exchange
14-15 November 2019
Chicago, IL
MAGI’s Clinical Research Conference
29 October 2019
Las Vegas, NV
Association for Corporate Counsel Annual Meeting 2019
27-30 October 2019
Phoenix, AZ