An Analysis from a Legal Standpoint on Telemedicine and Corresponding Recommendations

Under Turkish Law, physicians are presently prohibited from administering treatment to patients remotely, as outlined in Article 506 of the Turkish Code of Obligations. This statutory requirement underscores the importance of a direct “trust relationship” between physicians and patients during treatment. This leads us to a conclusion that the existing legal framework, mandating in-person treatment, calls for legislative amendments to facilitate remote medical care.

The European Union has undertaken extensive studies on the integration of Telemedicine benefiting from its position at the convergence of information and communication technologies. Notably, one of the significant studies in this field is the «UNIversal solutions in Telemedicine Deployment for European HEALTH care» [United4Health]. Prepared by United4Health, the «Industry Report on Telemedicine Legal and Regulatory Framework» presents recommendations aimed at formulating a robust legal and regulatory framework for telemedicine implementation.

Our recommendations for the implementation of Telemedicine in Turkey, aligned with the regulations, principles, and procedures outlined, are as follows:

  1. Legislative changes allowing for remote diagnosis and treatment,
  2. Establishment of a comprehensive framework to address administrative, legal, and criminal liabilities that may arise from the implementation of telemedicine,
  3. Development of detailed guides outlining types of services provided by each medical specialty integrated into the telemedicine system in line with relevant principles and procedures,
  4. Alignment of « General Conditions of Compulsory Liability Insurance for Medical Malpractice» and «Insurance Policies» with the implementation of Telemedicine,
  5. Incorporation of telemedicine into the current healthcare system,
  6. Establishment of a robust reimbursement mechanism to support the implementation of telemedicine,
  7. Implementation of comprehensive measures to ensure data security for the system and facilitate access to the data of concerned parties,
  8. Establishment of necessary technical infrastructure to facilitate diagnosis and treatment through telemedicine system.