Spain, EU countries to share medical records
The sharing of medical records with 11 other EU countries will help tourists and travelling businessmen access healthcare services in countries other than in Spain.18 August 2008
MADRID - Spain will start sharing medical records with 11 other EU countries as part of a pan-European project to help tourists and travelling business people access healthcare services in countries other than their own.
The initiative, dubbed Smart Open Services (SOS), will give a doctor in France access to the medical records of a Spaniard who lives in Germany, for example.
The aim is to end the current situation in which new medical records have to be created each time a person uses medical services in another country or even, in the case of Spain, in another region.
In this way, doctors will know immediately if the patient has any pre-existing medical conditions or specific health requirements - something particularly critical in the event of a serious accident.
"The system will contain basic and summarized data, such as information about chronic diseases, allergies, and medications the patient is taking," Health Minister Bernat Soría said at the presentation of the project last week.
Because of the sensitive nature of the information, the system will use strong encryption and security features. In addition, patients will be given the option of opting out of having their information shared and would have to give their authorisation each time their data is accessed, except in situations where they are unable to do so.
The system is due to be up and running by 2015 and will initially link the medical records of Spain, Austria, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Holland, Slovakia and the United Kingdom.
[El Pais / Maria R Sahuquillo / Expatica]
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