On 29 August 2014, the National Health and Family Planning Commission issued a new circular entitled “Opinion on Pushing Forward Telemedicine Services of Medical Institutes”, which expands the scope of permitted telemedicine services. However, the question of how the guidelines contained in the circular will be implemented remains unclear.
The concept of telemedicine was first introduced in China in 1999 in a Ministry of Health circular, which limited the scope of telemedicine to consultation between two medical institutes. Since the publication of the 1999 circular, the area of telemedicine has expanded considerably and according to statistics from the National Health and Family Planning Commission, as of 2013, there were 2,057 medical institutes which provided telemedicine services in China.
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