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Telemedicine in Russia: Ensuring that New Technologies Save Lives
12 September 2018

Since the new telemedicine law came into effect in 2018, a new market for such services has emerged in Russia. Experts estimate that it will be worth around RUB 18.5 billion this year, and RUB 68 billion in 2023. Across the vast expanses of Russia’s Far East, telemedicine is particularly important, and is growing rapidly. It is clear that telemedical and other information technologies can overcome distances, contribute to better medical decisions, make it easier for health workers and patients to communicate, and assist with the collection and analysis of big data. However, it should not be forgotten that they are only technologies: the most important aspect of healthcare is for processes to be standardized. It is no coincidence that the aviation, auto, and nuclear industries all put process before technology. This means that both traditional and new models of healthcare should clearly specify what is to be done, by whom, and when, how staff and patients should be educated, and how infrastructure should support processes. Only then will the new technologies prove their worth and save lives. Does the new telemedicine law meet the development needs of these services? Have any standard operating procedures been specified for telemedical services? How will personal data be protected? What requirements do public and private telemedical service providers need to meet? Where will patient data be held, and how will such data make medical decisions easier? What additional resources are needed for wide-scale adoption of IT in healthcare?

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