Saturday, June 21, 2014

Unregulated M-Health Activities May Be Health Hazard In India

Technology is assisting in making affordable healthcare services available to the residents of even the most remote corners of a territory. Technology has the potential to tackle the healthcare related problems of India as well. However, regulatory and legal issues must be kept in mind while using technology for healthcare related services in India.

For instance, most of the m-health service providers in India are violating Indian laws and there may be legal actions against them very soon. However, the biggest nuisance creators are online pharmacies providers of India that are operating without any legal compliance. Some of the areas where the m-health service providers are not observing Indian laws are privacy protection, data protection (PDF), cyber law due diligence (PDF), encryption regulations, cloud computing regulations, etc.

Similarly, medical devices must be thoroughly scrutinised to rule out any possible legal violation in India. The legal risks for developer and owners of food, healthcare and medicine related websites cannot be ignored. Mobile medical devices and handsets and their respective applications must also be in strict conformity with Indian laws. Medical device makers, software providers and medical fraternity of India must also keep in mind the encryption laws of India and cloud computing related compliances of India.

According to experts, dedicated m-health laws and regulations in India are urgently needed to prevent m-health related legal violations. In India, e-health and m-health related legal framework is missing. For instance, e-health in India is facing legal roadblocks. Till now we do not have any dedicated e-health laws and regulations in India. The legal enablement of e-health in India is urgently required. Naturally, dedicated m-health laws and regulations in India are also missing and different laws apply to m-health related issues in India. Telemedicine and online pharmacies laws in India and their legal implications and liabilities are also unknown to various m-health professionals.

In United States, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act), etc are some of the laws that take care of medico legal and techno legal issues of e-health and telemedicine. India also needs laws like HIPPA and other similar laws that can regulate m-health related issues in India. Otherwise, unregulated m-health activities may be a great health hazard in India.