Griffin Mulcahey, VP of Strategy & General Counsel at Medici
Recreating Healthcare in South Africa
Medici’s ambitions go far beyond changing US healthcare. Over the next 18 months Medici will deliver the future of healthcare internationally. As of May 15th, Medici is live in South Africa! I will address the regulatory and security aspects of each new country as Medici expands our reach.
Is Virtual Healthcare Legal in South Africa?
The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) has issued some mixed guidance on telemedicine. In 2011 and 2013, HPCSA has issued statements against call-center telemedicine where a doctor connects to a patient without a preexisting relationships.
But Medici is not “telemedicine” in this traditional sense.
Medici connects existing patient-health practitioner relationships. Medici is your doctor, not a doctor.
Medici satisfies South Africa’s core requirements for healthcare practitioner to diagnose, treat, and prescribe to patients:
- Patient informed consent
- Personal examination
- Secure (POPIA)
- Practitioner ethics
Informed consent. When prescribing care using telemedicine practitioners must ensure patients provide informed consent no different than standard practice. Every Medici patient provides consent to treatment when logging into the App.
Personal examination. A practitioner must have established a personal examination with a patient before practitioner can prescribe or supply medicine or a medical device to a patient. On Medici, all practitioners are treating existing patients, fulfilling this requirement.
Confidentiality. Practitioners must maintain patient’s information as confidential throughout treatment including if transferring information digitally or maintaining electronic records. Medici maintains complete confidentiality for all communication and documentation.
Security (POPIA). The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) will soon enforce new heightened standards for the security and storage of sensitive personal information. Fortunately, Medici, as a U.S. company, was built to the stringent security standards that already exceed POPIA obligations. All personal data in Medici will be processed and stored with the highest digital security standards possible.
Practitioner ethics. Medici does not practice medicine, healthcare practitioners do. Medici allows the practitioner to decide what is and is not within their ethical comfort. If a practitioner decides a patient must be seen in person or believes a patient must seek emergency care, the practitioner can simply request that of the patient on Medici.
HPCSA ethical standards require the professional discretion of healthcare practitioners regarding the diagnosis, scope of care or treatment should not be limited or influenced by non-clinical considerations of telemedicine technologies.
We at Medici could not agree more. On Medici, we leave the care in the hands of practitioners to provide the best possible care to patients.
Griffin Mulcahey, General Counsel and VP of Strategy for Medici. Disclaimer - Medici’s opinions on the use of its platform are not legal opinions. We recommend anyone seek local counsel for any specific questions regarding the health regulatory landscape of your home jurisdiction