CH: Federal bill on electronic patient records to be prepared by the end of 2012
2 - Summary:
The Swiss Federal Council asked the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA) to draft a bill as well as a corresponding message by the end of 2012 on the development of electronic patient records, taking into account the results of the consultation process that ran from September to December 2011.
3 - Description:
Thanks to a better coordination, the introduction of electronic patient records is aimed at improving patients’ safety and quality of care and increasing healthcare system efficiency. The electronic patient records are part of the ‘Swiss eHealth Strategy’, and a legal framework is necessary for their implementation.
During the consultation, the draft law on the electronic patient records reached a broad consensus, with the majority of the participants welcoming it. The revised draft law to be prepared by the FDHA will take the results of the consultation into account - it will particularly examine alternatives to the use of the social security number (AHVN13) to identify patients; moreover, it will determine to what extent incentives could be incorporated into the law to promote electronic patient records. The distribution of tasks among the Confederation, the cantons and the private actors will also be clarified.
On 3 December 2010, the Federal Council had requested the development of a new legal basis that would regulate the technical and organisational framework for the introduction, dissemination and development of an electronic patient record. All cantons and nearly 70 organisations from politics, economy and health sectors expressed their opinion on the first draft as part of a consultation process that took place from 16 September to 20 December 2011.
Three quarters of the participants to the consultation approved - without reservation - the strategic directions and objectives of the first draft. The rest of the participants (i.e. one quarter) agreed with the Council’s proposal in principle, however, they believed that some points required revision. Finally, only two of the participants rejected the draft in full; they argued that investments should first be made on the medical records within healthcare practices before determining the conditions for other health professionals or health institutions to issue data requests.
The participants especially appreciated the fact that the draft provided a concise legal framework, which is restricted to the heart of the matter without regulating the technological aspects. Regulations to preserve the right of self-determination for patients (i.e. to hold electronic records and to have the option to access their data through an electronic gateway) were also very welcomed. Lastly, the majority of the participants endorsed the requirement for health service providers to set up the electronic patient records.
The terms for granting access rights as well as the use of the social security number as an identifier have been criticised. Furthermore, the participants in the consultation process showed their concerns about the technical implementation and the lack of incentives, such as tariff measures.
4 - Domain:
5 - Topic:
Electronic health records
ICT for patient safety
Regional/national Health Information Networks
7 - Country:
13 - Sector:
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