Teleconsultation: deputies want to impose the presence of a health worker next to the patient

This could be the end of the era of video consultations with a doctor. Deputies of the Committee on Social Affairs adopted on Thursday, October 13, an amendment banning teleconsultations from home, as part of the consideration of the bill on financing social protection for 2023.

Disadvantages without advantages

Instead, patients will have to go to a “comprehensive health center, pharmacy, or community” where a healthcare professional can be physically with them during their doctor’s appointments.

“Acts of teleconsultation should be carried out and accompanied by a medical professional in order to ensure better control of this practice in order to avoid abuse and meet the expectations of patients,” explained in an explanatory note to the amendment submitted by Les Républicains MP Isabelle Valentine, who then voted. from the opposition.

“Despite the unfavorable opinion of the speaker, we have just voted for an amendment aimed at regulating teleconsultations with a medical professional on both sides of the screen! The thing is promised, the thing must!”, LFI elected Carol Fiat rejoiced.

No ban but…

If the amendment does not strictly ban teleconsultations, it is safe to say that these new conditions will force the French to abandon their computers and return to the doors of medical offices when they can. For most, this position is far from in the right direction, as it could prevent people living in medical or fragile deserts from having easy and quick access to a doctor.

“By imposing the presence of a medical worker next to the patient, the united oppositions want to perpetuate medical merit and endanger the health of the French,” Jean-Noel Barraud, Delegate Minister for Digital, criticized on Twitter. “Hurry, we are now waiting for an amendment that will allow you to order a sncf ticket on the sncf website only if you do so at a sncf station with an agent near you. Nan, but frankly,” protested in the meantime the deputy of the “Renaissance” Eric Botorel.

Because the practice of teleconsultations, which has certainly skyrocketed due to the health crisis, seems to have become a solid part of a practice far beyond the sole context of Covid-19. Approximately 1 million remote consultations are conducted each month through the industry-leading Doctolib platform. Neither Doctolib nor Maiia, another online doctor appointment platform, contacted L’Usine Digitale but at this stage did not want to publicly comment on the case.

Still a long way to go

But the amendment still has a long way to go before it becomes a reality, as it must be considered in open session from October 20 and then placed in the hands of the Senate. Everything suggests that the majority should mobilize to abolish this measure.

However, this is not the only provision of the text concerning teleconsultations. Article 43 of the draft law provides, inter alia, for the termination of compensation for work breaks ordered remotely if they have not been issued by the attending physician or another doctor who has already consulted within a year.

“We are seeing an explosion in the number of teleconsultation teleconsultations by a professional who is not a primary care physician. Last year it was almost 100 million euros,” Gabriel Attal, Minister of Action and Public Accounts, told the Journal du Dimanche at the end of September to justify this new rule.

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