Until now a patient's medical records have been stored at different places: hospitals, GPs, specialist doctors, such as ophthalmologists, orthopaedic surgeons or gynaecologists, all collect patient data and maintain their own records. But the patients themselves often have no access to their medical records, for example, when looking for a new doctor. This is why two hospitals are now offering their patients a new service – the Evita online health dossier. The solution has been running successfully in the Berne Hospital Network since October 2012. In the Lucerne Cantonal Hospital (LUKS) patients can now access their hospital records electronically as part of a pilot project running in the hospital's ENT Clinic.
ENT patients in the Lucerne Cantonal Hospital and all patients in the Berne Hospital Network can access the results of their medical examinations and their hospital records electronically and free of charge, also online from home whenever they wish. This is on condition that patients have an Evita online health dossier, in which they can record all medical data such as vaccinations, medication and blood pressure and make these data accessible to third parties.
Access to highly sensitive patient records is protected by special security measures. This is why Evita offers encrypted data transmission and storage as well as access control using secure two-factor user authentication (username, password and SMS code). Each access to the patient file is logged in detail, and the data are stored in a high-security data centre in Switzerland.
The Berne Hospital Network and the Lucerne Cantonal Hospital are the first hospitals in Switzerland to offer the Evita service to their patients, and are convinced it adds value for hospitals and patients alike. "The partnership with Swisscom is designed to open up new possibilities for patients in the area of personal health management, while also providing greater transparency," says Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Linder, Senior Consultant in the Lucerne Cantonal Hospital's ENT clinic. "Medical staff can find out information about the patient faster and duplication of effort can be avoided," adds Thomas Linder.
So that ENT patients can also benefit from electronic access to their personal hospital records during their stay in the Lucerne Cantonal Hospital, the clinic has placed an iPad at their disposal. The patients can look up the doctor's reports and also read them through after their appointment. During the pilot phase in the Lucerne Cantonal Hospital from April 2013 to April 2014, participation is restricted initially to ENT Clinic patients. The Lucerne Cantonal Hospital aims to integrate further clinics following successful conclusion of the pilot phase.
Electronic access to hospital records has been possible in the Berne Hospital Network since October 2012 and has met with a positive response: "We are very encouraged by our experience to date," says Peter Gerber, Director of Tiefenau and Ziegler hospitals, which are affiliated to the Berne Hospital Network. "The service is appreciated by our patients and is used regularly."
Stefano Santinelli, Head of Health at Swisscom, also sees advantages for all parties involved: "Electronic access to personal hospital records simplifies the current process of only handing out such data on request in paper form or on a data carrier." With these projects, the Berne Hospital Network and the Lucerne Cantonal Hospital are leading the way in Switzerland when it comes to addressing current developments in the healthcare system and the needs of patients. Santinelli goes on to say: "Our surveys reveal that patients would like to be able to securely access and manage their medical records electronically at any time."
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