Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care

LETTER TO EDITOR
Year
: 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 10  |  Page : 5402--5403

Informed consent for telemedicine


Himel Mondal1, Rudrashish Haldar2, Shaikat Mondal3,  
1 Department of Physiology, Bhima Bhoi Medical College and Hospital, Balangir, Odisha, India
2 Department of Anaesthesiology, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
3 Department of Physiology, Raiganj Government Medical College and Hospital, West Bengal, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Himel Mondal
Department of Physiology, Bhima Bhoi Medical College and Hospital, Balangir - 767002, Odisha
India




How to cite this article:
Mondal H, Haldar R, Mondal S. Informed consent for telemedicine.J Family Med Prim Care 2020;9:5402-5403


How to cite this URL:
Mondal H, Haldar R, Mondal S. Informed consent for telemedicine. J Family Med Prim Care [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 20 ];9:5402-5403
Available from: https://www.jfmpc.com/text.asp?2020/9/10/5402/299361


Full Text



Dear Editor,

Telemedicine has enormous potential in the forthcoming days especially when uncertainty prevails regarding how long will the COVID-19 pandemic persists.[1],[2] The Board of Governors in the supersession of the Medical Council of India has published guidelines on telemedicine for the current COVID-19 pandemic. According to the guidelines, in the event when the patients are initiating the teleconsultation, the consent is implied. In addition, explicit consent may be recorded in a simple sentence via email, text message, or audio (“Yes, I consent to avail consultation via telemedicine”).[3]

In both cases where the consent is deemed to be implied or recorded, the doctors presume that the patients are well aware of the advantages and disadvantages of teleconsultation. However, it is questionable whether, in reality, the patient is aware of the same or not. Here, doesn't doctors' presumption overlooks the “informed” part of the “informed consent”?

In our opinion, the patients should be informed about the advantages and disadvantages before beginning the teleconsultation. The practicing doctors should consider obtaining the “informed consent” from all the patients in a format which can be prepared from the consents used by various agencies.[4],[5] We are presenting a very basic version of informed consent in [Table 1].[6]{Table 1}

Those who are practicing telemedicine without a dedicated telemedicine application may take informed consent with this format. The doctors can send the text message containing the statements of the consent and ask the patient to record the voice with narrating the text on a smartphone. The audio file should be sent to the doctor for storage [Figure 1]. We think that this type of informed consent in telemedicine would bring transparency between the doctors and patients and would help in any future legal needs.{Figure 1}

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

References

1Chellaiyan VG, Nirupama AY, Taneja N. Telemedicine in India: Where do we stand? J Family Med Prim Care 2019;8:1872-6.
2Lahiri D, Mitra S. COVID-19 is accelerating the acceptance of telemedicine in India. J Family Med Prim Care 2020;9:3785-6.
3Telemedicine Practice Guidelines. India: Board of Governors in supersession of Medical Council of India. Available from: https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/Telemedicine.pdf. [Last accessed on 2020 Aug 26].
4Informed Consent for Telemedicine Consultation. USA: University of South Florida. Available from: https://www.usf.edu/student-affairs/student-health-services/services/consent-for-telemedicine-consultation.pdf. [Last accessed on 2020 Aug 26].
5Telehealth Consent Form. USA: Nacogdoches Health Partners. Available from: http://www.nachealthpartners.com/pdf/doc-telehealth-consent-form-1489775604.pdf. [Last accessed on 2020 Aug 26].
6Mondal H, Mondal S. Informed consent for teleconsultation. Figshare. Online resource. Available from: https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare0.12383606.v1. [Last accessed on 2020 Aug 26].