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Digital consultation and MCs available in telemedicine trial

PATIENTS can now consult doctors digitally and even receive medical certificates online, as the Ministry of Health (MOH) works with telemedicine providers to explore service models.

On Wednesday, the MOH announced the launch of a "regulatory sandbox", with selected telemedicine providers developing service models within well-defined patient safety and welfare parameters.

Providers will be asked to share data with the MOH, allowing the ministry to better understand the sector's evolution ahead of future licensing under the upcoming Healthcare Services Act in 2020.

This is the first example of a "regulatory sandbox" under the MOH's new Licensing Experimentation and Adaptation Programme (Leap). These sandboxes provide a safe and controlled environment in which to develop and refine innovative models and services.

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Leap will give patients early access to new healthcare models, but with safety and risk mitigation measures in place. Participating healthcare providers also benefit from getting an early look at the eventual regulatory environment, while the process allows the MOH to develop more timely, apt and effective regulations.

For telemedicine, the MOH is focusing on tele-consultation services, where doctors provide direct clinical care - diagnosis and intervention - to patients.

The first two providers participating in the programme are WhiteCoat and RingMD. More providers may come on board later.