Nagpur: When you go for a blood test or for sonography, ensure that the pathologist or radiologist who authenticates your report is present.
The Medical Council of India (MCI), while answering a query under the right to information (RTI) Act, made it clear that physical presence of a doctor is necessary to authenticate laboratory as well as radiology reports.
This makes it clear that the remote authorized reports are not valid. “Some pathologists are misusing technology with the help of cloud-based or web-based pathology software which allow remote access to authorize lab reports. Such practice stands illegal,” said Dr Prasad Kulkarni of Maharashtra Association of Practicing Pathologists and Microbiologists.
Dr Rohit Jain had filed this RTI application on November 8. Apart from the physical presence of a qualified pathologist to authenticate the report, he also questioned the validity of the digital signature.
“MCI regulations are silent in this regard,” was the reply he received regarding the issue of digital signature. A member of MCI’s Board of Governors told that the present MCI rules don’t have any specific provision regarding the digital signature system as it is comparatively new. However, state medical councils may form rules accordingly.
When TOI asked Maharashtra Medical Council (MMC), the officials admitted that rules are yet to be formulated regarding digital signatures. They, however, agreed that there’s a need for such rules.
“Specific rules regarding the validity of digital signatures are yet to be drafted. In recent times, we have come across several cases regarding misuse of digital signatures. We handled those cases on an individual basis by examining local references and also took action against the guilty pathologists. But there’s a need to draft specific regulations,” said MMC vice-president Dr Vinky Rughwani.
“Everything is getting digitized and the health care sector cannot stay aloof. Using digital signature is a bit complicated when it comes to the health sector. MMC and other bodies will have to think about it and form comprehensive regulations. It’s not that only pathologists are using digital platforms. Many physicians, who practice telemedicine, online medicine are also going digital,” said microbiologist Dr Nitin Vyawahare.