Swiss Post's Patient Data Card ready for electronic patient dossier
The insurance card produced by Swiss Post meets the technical and functional requirements specified by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). At a meeting of key healthcare stakeholders hosted by FOPH, card manufacturers and the associations of service providers in the healthcare sector agreed on the further development of the current health insurance cards. The clear goal of all stakeholders is to enable the cards to be used as a key for accessing electronic patient dossiers. Swiss Post's Patient Data Card already meets these requirements and has been deployed in field trials since the beginning of 2011 as part of the «e-toile» pilot run by the canton of Geneva. The insurance cards produced for Helsana are already being successfully used in the Geneva pilot project.
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Since the beginning of 2010, Swiss health insurance companies have been obliged to issue an insurance card to their members as part of the mandatory health insurance scheme. This card is fitted with a microchip on which administrative and emergency data can be stored. As an expert report commissioned by FOPH found, the insurance cards produced by the two manufacturers differed from the standard to a greater or lesser extent. The few differences are primarily attributable to unclear formulations in the standard and the resulting different interpretations. Swiss Post's card can be used without restriction. The variances identified relate to the storage of emergency data only. As there is no software for medical practitioners to process emergency data yet, this has no impact.
Card-independent software as interim solution
In order to accommodate further variances of the manufacturers that were identified in the report, Swiss Post supports the decision taken at an FOPH round table to develop a software-based interim solution to arrive at a working overall solution. The card manufacturers will work together with the healthcare professionals to develop software components which will act as an interface to compensate for further differences.
Electronic patient dossier is common goal
All stakeholders support the long-term goal of providing a health insurance card that will work as a key to access an electronic patient dossier. Over the last six months, Swiss Post's Patient Data Card produced for Helsana has proven successful in Geneva Canton's «e-toile» trials as an electronic patient ID card and access key to the canton's patient dossier. Provided the patient gives them permission, doctors, hospitals, pharmacists and other professionals can access an individual's medical history and can save their prescriptions or reports on the card. In emergencies, access to the latest patient data is also possible without the card, which greatly enhances patient safety. This solution complies with data privacy legislation and has significant advantages in comparison with storing emergency data on the insurance card, as data cannot be lost and are always up to date.