3.1 million Belgians have electronic patient file

Summary

Nearly 28% of Belgian residents have given permission for their health-care records to be shared via the electronic platform eHealth

Data sharing

About 3.1 million Belgians have given health-care providers permission to exchange their data via an electronic patient file, four times as many as the same time last year. The figures come from the Christian Mutuality (CM), which made the announcement yesterday on European Patient Rights’ Day.

Last month, health-care providers in Belgium consulted the electronic platform eHealth, which contains patients’ health data, 140,000 times, compared to only 10,000 in March of 2015. Three-quarters of general practitioners (GPs) now use eHealth.

“E-health is on the verge of a definitive breakthrough,” said national CM secretary Martine Van de Walle in a statement. “Health-care providers get much quicker access to data, which enables them to start the right treatment faster.”

The electronic patient files also help to prevent red tape, unnecessary costs and double examinations, he said. GPs can use the site to provide a summary of the patient file to a hospital’s emergency department. Other data that are often exchanged include results of lab analyses, medical images and notes from care providers.

Patients also have access to the site, which means “they have a better overview of their health care and can ask more targeted questions,” said Van de Walle.

CM is calling on all Belgians to give permission for the electronic exchange of their health data. Permission can be given on the site, via health-care providers or through a mutuality.

Photo courtesy Vitalink