Telemedicine: Federal Council of Medicine approves new regulation

The Federal Council of Medicine (CFM) approved a new regulation, Resolution No. 2,134/2022, to establish new rules for the practice of telemedicine in Brazil.

This CFM regulation was already expected by multiple actors in the sector after the former Resolution on telemedicine was revoked (Resolution No. 2,227/2018) and other regulations on related matters were approved, such as Resolution No. 2,299/2021, which regulates the issuance of electronic medical documents, and Resolution No. 2,311/2022, which regulates robotic surgeries.

According to the new Resolution, telemedicine is defined as the exercise of medicine mediated by digital, information, and communication technologies (TDICs in Portuguese), for the purposes of assistance, education, research, disease and injury prevention, management, and health promotion.

Doctors are assured of the possibility of using telemedicine in their consultations, or to refuse to do so, indicating when they consider face-to-face care a more appropriate alternative. Medical autonomy in choosing between face-to-face or virtual care is related to the safety and quality of patient care.

For health service providers (such as health plans, medical clinics, among others) that choose to offer telemedicine services, it is mandatory to register the location of the  establishment with the Regional Council of Medicine.

Furthermore, the Resolution establishes several rules, to be observed by those who provide telemedicine services, referring to the data and images contained in the patient’s medical records.

The Regional Councils of Medicine are responsible for monitoring and evaluating telemedicine activities in their territories, with regard to the quality of care, doctor-patient relationship, and preservation of professional secrecy.

Telemedicine is a subject which regulation is still embryonic in the country. Initially authorized through Federal Law No. 13,989/2020, which authorized the practice of telemedicine during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is currently the subject of Bill No. 1,998/2020, which authorizes and defines the practice of telemedicine, approved this last April by the House of Representatives. The Bill is still pending approval by the Senate.

Until a new law is enacted, telemedicine will be regulated by Resolution No. 2,134/2022.