The year 2018 marks a significant shift in the deployment of telemedicine in France.
Teleconsultations are henceforth reimbursed by the French Health Insurance Fund, just like "standard" consultations. This practice has also been liberalized through the repeal of the obligation to enter into contracts with regional health agencies and agreements between operators that carry out a telemedicine activity.
Latest developments in telemedicine in 2018 confirm that this practice is now expanding rapidly.
Telemedicine is a form of remote medical practice using information and communication technologies. It aims at inter alia increasing access to healthcare services, improving the quality of life of patients or enhancing coordination between healthcare professionals by allowing for the provision and monitoring of healthcare services at patients' place of living.
There exist five types of medical acts that are part of telemedicine in France: Teleconsultation, tele-expertise, telemonitoring, teleassistance, medical regulation.
Teleconsultations, i.e. remote consultations by a healthcare professional, have been included within the coordinated care pathway, as per the provisions of the 2018 Social Security Financing Bill1.
Since September 15, 2018, healthcare professionals are entitled to conduct remote consultations at the same rate as face-to-face appointments. The reimbursement procedure by the Health Insurance Fund and supplemental healthcare insurance schemes is similar to the procedure currently applicable to standard appointments2.
Reimbursement by the Health Insurance Fund shall however be subject to a number of requirements, including:
Teleconsultations must be conducted by means of video-transmission: The patient shall be invited by the physician to connect to a secured website or app via a computer or tablet computer equipped with a webcam; It must be integrated within the coordinated care pathway: The teleconsultation must be conducted by the primary care physician or any other healthcare professional to whom the patient has been referred (except in particular for specialists who may already be directly consulted by patients (gynecologists, ophthalmologists, psychiatrists/neuropsychiatrists or stomatologists), for patients under the age of 16) The patient must be known to the teleconsulting physician: At least one face-to-face appointment must have be conducted with this physician in the 12 months preceding the teleconsultation. The year...