On 4 September 2023, the President of Ukraine signed the Law of Ukraine On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on the Functioning of Telemedicine, which establishes a comprehensive and up-to-date approach on state policy in the field of telemedicine with a goal to improve the quality and accessibility of medical services, expand opportunities for patients, improve management and optimise the use of healthcare resources. This law was passed by parliament on 9 August 2023.
The driving factors behind these amendments to Ukraine’s healthcare laws include the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for improved remote access to healthcare services, particularly in response to the Russian invasion.
In July 2023, the Ukrainian government officially adopted a Telemedicine Development Strategy, a comprehensive document that identifies current challenges in the telemedicine sector, establishes guiding principles for its advancement in Ukraine, and outlines a detailed operational plan for implementing the strategy. One of the strategy's key objectives was to enhance the regulatory framework for telemedicine development and implementation.
Prior to this law, legal regulation of telemedicine in Ukraine was governed by orders from the Ministry of Health. The new law, however, establishes the fundamental principles for governing telemedicine through legislative means.
The law also introduces new terminology, including “eHealth”, “telemedicine tool”, “telemedicine method”, “telediagnosis”, “teleconsultation”, “telemedicine network”, “telemetry” and “digital competence of healthcare workers” while providing an amended definition of “telemedicine”. In addition, the law regulates the framework terms and procedures for telemedicine consultations and rehabilitation provisions.
Given the increased demand for rehabilitation services following the Russian invasion, the law emphasises the potential for delivering rehabilitation assistance through telemedicine methods and resources while also introducing the concept of “telerehabilitation”.
The law codifies fundamental principles for providing telemedical services, which includes, among other things, the stipulations that:
- only those healthcare institutions or entrepreneurs, which are registered and have obtained a license to carry out business activities in medical practice, can provide medical and/or rehabilitation care using telemedicine;
- all patient rights concerning the preservation of medical secrecy and confidentiality must be strictly adhered to during the provision of telemedicine services.
For the period of martial law and for six months after its termination, the new law allows Ukrainian patients to obtain telemedicine services from foreign healthcare professionals.
Overall, the Law sets out framework provisions that will enable the adoption of a wider range of regulation regarding telemedicine in Ukraine as a part of the e-Health system. The Ukrainian Ministry of Healthy will adopt the specific procedures, means and standards for providing telemedicine-related services in the country.
For more information on this law, and telemedicine and healthcare in Ukraine, contact your CMS client partner or local CMS experts: Anna Pogrebna, Borys Danevych.