Council regulates telemedicine in the country

Decision on the type of consultation will be up to the doctor; health plans may choose whether or not to offer the service

The CFM (Federal Council of Medicine) defined and regulated the use of telemedicine in Brazil. The rules come into force this Thursday (May 5, 2022). Resolution on the subject was published in the Official Gazette, also on this 5th. Here is the full text (101 KB).

The text establishes that health plans may choose to offer teleconsultations or not. Likewise, physicians will be able to choose the type of care they consider most appropriate for each patient.

The debate on the regulation of telemedicine began in 2018. In 2020, stimulated by the covid-19 pandemic, the discussion gained momentum.

Telemedicine is defined as the secure transmission of medical data and information, through text, sound, images or other forms necessary for prevention, diagnosis, treatment – ​​including drug prescription and patient follow-up”.

In addition to teleconsultation, telemedicine includes: teleinterconsultation (between physicians), telediagnosis (sending test reports to physicians), telesurgery (surgery mediated by robots), telemonitoring (monitoring the patient’s clinical evolution), teletriage (assessment of the patient’s symptoms and guidance) and teleconsulting (to deal with administrative procedures and health actions).

According to the resolution, the face-to-face consultation continues to be “the gold standard of reference for medical consultations”while telemedicine is considered “complementary act”.

The text also establishes that the service of “chronic illnesses or illnesses that require long-term follow-up” are carried out in person and that the entire consultation is recorded in the clinical record.

Doctors are authorized to issue medical certificates or prescriptions as long as they are electronically signed and accompanied by information from the professional.

The regulation is expected to be widely used by the SUS (Sistema Único de Saúde), especially in more isolated municipalities, where residents need to travel to the nearest hospital or health center.

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