Two authorities, the NHC and the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine of the PRC, released three regulations for remote healthcare on 14 September 2018. Remote healthcare refers to health services (e.g. diagnosis) conducted remotely (e.g. via an Internet hospital).

  1. The Administrative Measures for Internet Diagnosis (Trial for Implementation) (“Measure 1”)

    Under Measure 1, Internet Diagnosis refers to medical institutions that, together with their registered doctors, use the Internet or other information technology (“IT”) to operate referrals of common and chronic diseases and the engagement service of the “Internet +”2 family doctors.

    Only medical institutions having practice licences can provide Internet Diagnosis services. In addition, medical institutions shall not use Internet Diagnosis on a patient’s first visit.

    Doctors are allowed to write a prescription for some of the common and chronic diseases online. The online prescription should be signed by the doctor with the electronic signature. In addition, the online prescription must be reviewed by a pharmacist. Following the pharmacists’ review, the medical institution and the medicine manufacturer can entrust a qualified third party to deliver the medicine on the prescription.

  2. The Administrative Measures for Internet Hospitals (Trial for Implementation) (“Measure 2”)

    Under Measure 2, Internet Hospitals refer to fictitious hospitals operated by and based on real hospitals or medical institutions. The establishment of an Internet Hospital must be approved by the authority.

    If a real hospital independently applies to establish an Internet Hospital, that Internet Hospital must share the same name with the real hospital. It is also the real hospital that would assume all the legal liabilities of its Internet Hospital.

    If a real hospital jointly applied to establish an Internet Hospital with a third party, the name of the Internet Hospital should consist of the both parties’ names. All parties should assume legal liabilities in accordance with their cooperation agreement.

  3. The Administrative Measures for Remote Healthcare Services (Trial for Implementation) (“Measure 3”)

Under Measure 3, remote healthcare services refers to:

  • hospital A inviting hospital B to provide remote healthcare services for a patient of hospital A via the Internet or other technologies; and
  • hospital A or a third party establishing a remote healthcare service platform, where other hospitals can register and provide remote healthcare services to hospital A’s patients. In this case, all the parties should agree on the allocation of liabilities.

There are some common provisions shared between the three Measures. For example, a medical institution can cooperate with a third party to provide Internet Diagnosis, and to operate Internet Hospitals or remote healthcare service platforms; all parties must comply with the relevant data security and privacy protection regulations.

To read the full text of the Measures (in Chinese only), please click here.