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【MHLW investigative commission 】Continuation of considering making online medical care permanent – to add these points to guidelines revision by the next fall.

2021年01月22日 (金)

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) will continue to consider making online medical care permanent including the first visit, from next year onward. It was approved at the “Investigative Commission Concerning the Review of Guidelines for Proper Implementation in Online Medical Care” held on the 21st. It was planned to show a specific direction by the end of this year. However, the conclusion was postponed due to the re-expansion of the new coronavirus infection. After compiling in June next year, MHLW plans to revise the guidelines for online medical care by the following fall, based on related academic societies’ examinations.

Regarding online medical care including the first visit, the measures to allow for implementation as a specially permitted due to the new coronavirus’s spread. In response to government policies to make online medical care permanent, the investigative committee has been studying to point a specific direction throughout this year. However, they will continue temporary/Special Measures in the meantime, and have decided to continue to consider them after next year due to the re-expansion of new coronavirus infections.

Hereafter, they will consider rules to ensure enough safety and reliability when conducting online medical care for the first visit. There are five main considerations: 1. Preliminary explanation / consent, 2. Enhancement and mandatory of training, 3. Handling of unexamined patients, 4. Preliminary triage for patients who are unsuitable for online medical care, 5. Restrictions on such as prescription drugs.

The MHLW also discussed pre-triage when conducting online medical care in the investigative commission that day. They suggested the idea that if patients take online medical care from the first consultation, it will be mandatory receiving online triage and telephone triage to exclude patients in advance unsuitable symptoms and conditions. However, since various opinions came out, they decided to consider it from next time onwards.

Regarding the prior explanation/consent, the direction included matters to be agree on the first visit and the method of confirmation in the revision of guideline were accepted based on the prior explanation/consent of online medical treatment with considering re-examination It was decided that doctors should explain the details beforehand to patients as follows and obtain their consent.
– Patients may need to take face-to-face medical care.
– If patients need to take face-to-face medical care, they confirm the medical institution that provides face-to-face medical care, and so forth.
At the future investigative commission, they will discuss the details.

Regarding restrictions on prescription drugs, major academic societies’ opinions, such as unapproved and off-label drugs which have high medical risks, will be summarized, and addressed.


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