5th Oct 2020
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Ms Joan Pereira
MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC
Question No. 50
To ask the Minister for Health (a) whether there has been an upward trend over the past year of people seeking telemedicine; (b) what are the reasons for them seeking telemedicine; and (c) whether feedback from patients who have used telemedicine can be compiled and shared to enable the public who are thinking of using telemedicine to be well-informed.
1 The Ministry has observed a recent increase in the number of public and private healthcare providers offering telemedicine services. MOH does not track the number of persons seeking telemedicine services.
2 The telemedicine Regulatory Sandbox was launched by MOH in 2018 to work with providers and gain a better understand of emerging telemedicine services. We understand that patients use telemedicine services mainly for greater convenience. Specifically, telemedicine enables easy access to care for those who are less mobile or otherwise unable to present themselves for an in-person consultation, saves time for those with conditions suitable for telemedicine (such as those with stable chronic conditions), and provides added convenience when combined with medication delivery.
3 Providers should communicate clearly to patients the limitations of the service, as well as the appropriate and safe use of telemedicine. For instance, telemedicine is not suitable for conditions requiring immediate medical attention or a physical examination, and that the telemedicine consultation should allow for privacy of the patient. These insights have been collated into the MOH Telemedicine e-Training programme launched in March 2020 to guide healthcare professionals on designing and delivering telemedicine services that prioritise patient safety and welfare. To-date, over 5,000 healthcare professionals and administrators have completed this online training.
4 With increasing use of telemedicine, MOH will also be improving patients’ understanding of the safe and appropriate use of telemedicine through additional consumer education efforts planned in the coming months.