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Digital Health

Baden-Wuerttemberg authorizes online doctors’ appointments

A first in Germany, video appointments are now permitted in the south-west of the country, without the need for a prior face-to-face consultation. The scheme is expected to spread throughout the country.

30 Oct. 2017
Source: Teleclinic
Source: Teleclinic

Munich-based startup Teleclinic is offering video doctor-patient consultations. Remote treatment over the phone or on the computer screen is nothing new, but up until now has only ever been permitted where the doctor had already seen the patient at the start of treatment and been able to physically examine them, and with doctors allowed to impart only general medical advice.

Now, however, the Baden-Wuerttemberg State Medical Association has granted Teleclinic permission to treat patients exclusively by video for a two-year fixed period. To pave the way for this, the German Medical Association’s professional code of conduct was last year amended accordingly.

Initially, Teleclinic will be authorized to offer its video consultations with no prior doctor’s visit only in the German federal state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. Other federal states are, though, expected to follow suit.

Medical associations see video consultations as a means to compensate for the shortage of doctors in rural areas, while hospitals support the new forms of treatment because they hope they’ll help them cut costs. Teleclinic currently deals with two private health insurance companies and says that contracts with statutory health insurers are in the pipeline.

Other startups are also currently exploring telemedicine options. Patientus offers a technical system for organizing video consultations, and Doc Cirrus a similar product. Swedish company Kry , on the other hand, provides an App for video contact between doctor and patient.