We know that telemedicine has been a big factor contributing to the health of everyone around the world during the pandemic because it was obvious that contact should be as less as possible during those times due to fears of the virus spreading. However, it is worth noting that while other countries like the US have made telemedicine permanent even after the pandemic, there are others who have once again stopped permission for telemedicine usage in the country and one of them is South Korea. Yes, it is known that South Korea recently reduced the health emergency level in the country to indicate that the pandemic’s threat has reduced. However, with that the permission for telemedicine also went away. But we have good news in this regards as South Korea is now testing a three-month pilot project to allow permanent telehealth services in the country.

Yes, if you are a resident of South Korea and loved the usage of telemedicine during the pandemic due to its convenience then you can rejoice as the country might allow the permanent use of telemedicine going forward which will also prompt a boom in the telemedicine startups inside the country as well as entry of telemedicine companies from outside as well. As part of the pilot, South Korean Government has allowed the following services to be operational under the telehealth services as of now:

  • those with chronic diseases who have done their first in-person visits; 
  • pediatric patients seeking follow-ups (only during holidays and at night); 
  • people living in islands and other remote areas; 
  • disabled persons; 
  • senior citizens over the age of 65; and 
  • people dealing with infectious diseases

During the pre-pilot, it was noticed that “some hospitals were found to have violated the rule against prescribing commonly abused drugs via telemedicine. In response, the ministry is keen to mete out sanctions for future violations, such as reducing claims and issuing refunds”. Also, the advisory group noted that “the present criteria for accepting patients were restrictive: access to telemedicine is allowed for patients with chronic diseases who have done their first in-person visits within a year and for non-chronic disease patients who have done their first in-person visits within 30 days. “