Use of information and communication technology (ICT) is increasingly being used to deliver health related services around the world. In the Indian context, health related services are not readily available. In remote areas and villages, patients have to travel all the way to big cities to get themselves treated. Some of these illnesses are of simple nature and they can be suitably treated with a simple consultation with the doctor. Such consultation can take place through the use of video conferencing and other technology instruments like mobiles.
This use of mobile devices to deliver health related services is popularly known as m-health. In India, m-health is still in infancy stage. The technological and legal issues of m-health are still evolving. As a result, most of the m-health service providers are not complying with either technological or legal requirements applicable in India. Cloud computing and virtualisation have introduced their own techno legal challenges to m-health related services.
In India, e-health related legal framework is missing. For instance, e-health in India is facing legal roadblocks. Till now we do not have any dedicated e-health laws and regulations in India. The legal enablement of e-health in India is urgently required. Naturally, dedicated m-health laws and regulations in India are also missing and different laws apply to m-health related issues in India. Telemedicine and online pharmacies laws in India and their legal implications and liabilities are also unknown to various m-health professionals.
The privacy rights in India in the information age have also posed many legal challenges before m-health companies and entrepreneurs in India. Although we have no dedicated privacy laws in India and data protection laws in India (PDF) yet there are certain legislations in India that govern both privacy and data protection aspects of m-health industry in India.
The cyber litigations against foreign websites would increase in India. M-health entrepreneurs must also keep in mind the requirements of Internet intermediary liability in India and cyber law due diligence in India (PDF). The new Indian Companies Act, 2013 (PDF) would further raise the incidences of corporate criminal liability in India.
When technology is used for medical purposes, it gives rise to medico legal and techno legal issues. In United States, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act), etc are some of the laws that take care of medico legal and techno legal issues of e-health and telemedicine. India also needs laws like HIPPA and other similar laws that can regulate m-health related issues in India.