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Switzerland: A leader in the digitalisation of healthcare

Switzerland: A leader in the digitalisation of healthcare
Copyright  euronews   -  
By Claudio Rosmino

Switzerland has one of the best examples of digitalised health system. This followed the successful implementation of the electronic patient file (Dossier Électronique du Patient), by the University Hospitals of Geneva.

This new national solution presents two significant advantages: the high level of data security resulting from certification by the Confederation and the system's compatibility throughout the country.

The online health record contains health documents useful in case of treatment, they are filed by health professionals (such as prescriptions for the pharmacy, hospital discharge report, vaccination booklet, and X-rays) or by the patient, who always remains in control of his data (they decide which health professionals can access your data).

In order to achieve this, there was a legislative process, at a national level, to define the rules, the laws, the regulations, and the technical requirements, so that the different solutions that would be put in place were interoperable. Then, there was the creation of technology platforms to implement the electronic patient file, so patients could connect to it in order to access their documents, and, for professionals, to contribute to it and to access the file, following patient authorisation.

Stéphane Spahni is an IT system architect, he has followed the implementation of that infrastructure between the hospital of Geneva and the different partners (doctors, local health institutions etc).

"_The different aspects of consent still need to be clarified. Do we want to allow patients to say 'I agree to share my data, but for this clinical study only ?' And if there is another clinical study, does the patient have to give a new consent ? That could be very heavy for the patient, as well as for research or the use of the data, because that is a lot of consent to ask for. So you have to find the right compromise, between (procedural) heaviness and access to information."