Head, Cybersecurity, Privacy and Data Protection KK Lim comments in The Business Times article titled "The doctor is online: why telemedicine apps need to tread with caution"

Head, Cybersecurity, Privacy and Data Protection KK Lim comments in The Business Times article titled "The doctor is online: why telemedicine apps need to tread with caution"
16 Jul 2019

Eversheds Harry Elias Head, Cybersecurity, Privacy and Data Protection KK Lim comments in The Business Times article titled "The doctor is online: why telemedicine apps need to tread with caution". The article was first published om 13 July 2019.

The doctor is online: why telemedicine apps need to tread with caution

Below is an excerpt from the article which features comments from KK Lim:

In the event of malpractice or negligence, who takes the blame?

"In general, where liability will fall will most likely depend on the contractual relationship between the healthtech platform and the freelance doctor. The court will likely look at the facts to determine whether the person is an employee or an independent contractor," says KK Lim, head of cybersecurity, privacy and data protection at law firm Eversheds Harry Elias.

There has not been a case in Singapore involving telemedicine negligence, but players acknowledge that even one case could have a chilling effect on the whole industry. The startups tell The Business Times that they are working closely with MOH to ensure patient safety.

Therein also lies the difficulty of scaling regionally: in bringing telemedicine to rural communities, the platforms will also need to be clear about which jurisdictions they are operating in, and ensure compliance with all the relevant regulations.

Tricky questions

Going cross-border could raise some tricky legal and ethical questions, as highlighted by KK Lim, head of cybersecurity, privacy and data protection of Eversheds Harry Elias.

"If there is a malpractice or negligence suit, where would be the proper jurisdiction to hear the case, in the event that the freelance doctor is in one country, and the patient in another country?

"Different jurisdictions have different approaches in dealing with the area of medical negligence; will that encourage forum shopping by parties involved?" he notes.

The fact that a Singapore-based individual can get an online consultation with a doctor in India involving no physical examination, coupled with the sharing of personal information, raises some questions from a legal standpoint.

"Based on the Question and Answer (section) provided on Practo, the doctors are not only verifiable but qualified. But the issue is whether these doctors are registered with the Singapore Medical Council. If they are not, the platform may be prosecuted for providing medical advice by doctors not registered with the Singapore Medical Council," says Mr Lim of Eversheds Harry Elias.

In addition, there are also issues surrounding the collection of data, Mr Lim adds. "Even if the provision of medical advice is legally permissible, the issue is whether the platform is able to collect Singapore-based personal data and export it out to an apparent India-located server.

"The PDPA (Personal Data Protection Act) prohibits the export of data from Singapore to another country without the equivalent protection unless exempted by the Personal Data Protection Commission," he says.

Full article can be found here.

Source: The Business Times

Author: Sharanya Pillai

For more information, please contact our Business Development Manager, Ricky Soetikno at rickysoetikno@eversheds-harryelias.com

 

Contact: 

KK Lim

Head, Cybersecurity, Privacy and Data Protection
T: 
+65 6361 9307
F: 
+65 6438 0550
E: 
kklim@eversheds-harryelias.com