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Tag Archives: Web Guidance
The key points are  consent  adequate assessment including consideration of access to previous records, modality of communication, need for physical examination.
The GMC guidance is given as;
60. Before you prescribe for a patient via telephone, video-link or online, you must satisfy yourself that you can make an adequate assessment, establish a dialogue and obtain the patient’s consent in accordance with the guidance at paragraphs 20–29.
61. You may prescribe only when you have adequate knowledge of the patient’s health, and are satisfied that the medicines serve the patient’s needs. You must consider:
a. the limitations of the medium through which you are communicating with the patient
b. the need for physical examination or other assessments
c. whether you have access to the patient’s medical records.
62. You must undertake a physical examination of patients before prescribing non-surgical cosmetic medicinal products such as Botox, Dysport or Vistabel or other injectable cosmetic medicines. You must not therefore prescribe these medicines by telephone, video-link, or online.
Update July 2015
A new EU law came into effect on 1 July 2015 that requires doctors to prescribe only drugs that are licensed for use where the patient lives – for example, when they are prescribing drugs via online consultations. >> Find out more in section 7 of the MHRA’s document (pdf)
2012 Guidance about requirements a website must adhere to (not all relevant to Cld.Ht);
Web Accessibility and the Disability Discrimination Act
The Data Protection Act
Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations
Electronic Commerce Regulations (EC Directive)
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)
The EU Anti Spam Laws
The EU Cookie Directive
The BMA quotes the GMC guidance on advertising and elaborates with details (follow link)
Doctors may advertise their services, for example on the internet, in formal advertisements in newspapers or magazines, a practice leaflet, or an editorial or news piece in a newspaper. However, all advertising must follow the guidelines set out by the General Medical Council.
The GMC guidance states that any information provided about medical services MUST:
- comply with the law and guidance issues by the Advertising Standards Authority
- be factual and verifiable
- not make unjustifiable claims about the quality of service
- not offer guarantees of cures or exploit patients’ vulnerability or lack of medical knowledge
- not put pressure on people to use the service, for example, by arousing ill founded fear for their future health or by visiting or telephoning prospective patients
The potential pitfalls of social media that the BMA identifies are;
Patient confidentiality violations. ref(1)
Use of discriminatory & profane language. ref(1)
Depictions of intoxication and illicit substance use. ref(1)
Maintaining boundaries – sharing (professional’s) personal information
“Where you post significant amounts of personal information on social media, patients may gain unrestricted access and you need to consider carefully what impact this might have on your professional relationships.”
Maintaining boundaries – inappropriate Doctor-Patient relationships
“Social networking sites such as Facebook also facilitate the development of online friendship networks. Doctors and medical students have reported, for example, that patients and former patients have sent them friend requests on Facebook. We recommend that, in these circumstances, if you receive friend requests you should politely decline.“
Professionalism – consider the public interest argument of how the Public regards/ may regard the profession as a result
ref(1) – Chretien KC et al. (2009) Online Posting of Unprofessional Content by Medical Students. JAMA 302(12):1309-15.
Details regarding doctor’s using anonymity online
2014 Summary and Opinion by Craig MacLean, Deputy Chair of the British Medical Association (BMA) Scottish Medical Students’ Committee.