Dutch patients get to decide who has access to their electronic files
Patients in the Netherlands will soon be able to determine which care providers have access to their Electronic Patient Record EPD. Patients can also demand to receive an email or text message whenever their medical records are being accessed. Health Minister Edith Schippers made these announcements in a progress report on the EPD presented to parliament on Thursday.
The medical records of more than 5.8 million Dutch citizens can now be consulted via the EPD system. Minister Schippers said she valued adequate protection of these data and the privacy of the patients involved, but emphasised that the EPD was an important tool in the struggle against avoidable medical errors.
From the second quarter of this year, patients can limit access to their EPD to for instance their GP, pharmacist and specialist. The health minister also wants to change the way people access their EPDs. Instead of via a national internet portal, Ms Schippers wants patients to be able to access their medical records via the web sites of their health insurance companies. The logic being that patients will be able to find additional information there as well as being able to schedule an appointment, look at x-rays or check lab results.
The health minister reports that nearly 40 percent of care providers now have a link to the national data exchange network. In light of the number of applications pending, the minister expects about 75 percent of the target group will have joined the network this spring.
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