Connecting health securely
Information for patients
The electronic patient record
The introduction of the electronic patient record (EPR) brings all Swiss healthcare professionals together in a network. Swiss Post plays an important role in this process and is the right choice of professional partner – for patients too.
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How the electronic patient record (EPR) works
The EPR providers are organizational associations of healthcare professionals and their facilities – also known as reference communities.
EPRs are introduced incrementally: first, a specific reference community is certified. Next, patients living within the catchment area of the reference community can open their own personal EPR. The benefits of EPRs can only be enjoyed by all parties if they are implemented by patients, healthcare professionals and their healthcare institutions alike.
The benefits of a personal EPR at a glance
- Patients have access to their personal medical data at all times.
- In addition to healthcare professionals, patients can also store documents that are important to them in their personal EPR (such as patient decrees or data they measure themselves).
- Patients decide who has access to their personal EPR
- In a medical emergency, access to all important patient data is guaranteed.
- The EPR increases the quality and safety of care as all healthcare professionals involved in a treatment have access to the latest treatment data at all times.
Post E-Health’s EPR fully complies with the legal requirements of the Federal Act on the Electronic Patient Record (EPRO), which came into force in April 2017. The adoption of the EPRO is a milestone in the e-health strategy of the Confederation and cantons. The EPRO is intended to strengthen the quality of medical treatment, improve processes, and increase safety for patients – in working towards an efficient Swiss healthcare system.
Opening an EPR is optional for patients. Participation in the EPR is also optional for family doctors and other outpatient healthcare professionals. After a transitional period, the EPRO only requires hospitals and care homes to join a community and switch to the EPR.
More information can be found in the following eHealth Suisse brochures:
EPR stands for Electronic Patient Record.
No, the electronic patient record is optional for patients.
The Federal Act on the Electronic Patient Record (EPRO) stipulates how the EPR is to be secured technically. These specifications meet the highest data protection and data security standards. In addition, every access to and every action in the EPR is logged automatically. This gives patients full knowledge and control of what happens to their data in the EPR.
Yes, patients can access their own patient data and also add their own information and documents (e.g. existing allergies, patient decrees etc.).
A community is an association of healthcare professionals and their institutions. A reference community is one which offers the opening of electronic patient records. Reference communities also offer storage of written consent declarations on behalf of patients, as well as the management of access rights and other services.
A list of the reference communities will be published at patientendossier.ch/en.
Wherever possible, data will be stored in the location at which it is entered, e.g. by the respective healthcare professional or institution. The top priorities here are clearly regulated statutory data security and data protection.
Patients decide which healthcare professionals can read which documents. They do this by issuing or withdrawing corresponding access rights. In a medical emergency situation and under strict conditions, a healthcare professional can also access the documents without access rights in order to ensure the well-being of the patient under treatment.
By law, the personal EPR can be opened by spring 2020 approximately. Residents of the canton of Geneva can already have an electronic patient record opened today.
The EPR contains only documents that are relevant to further treatment, such as a referral report or medication list. Only copies are saved. The originals remain in the systems of the healthcare professionals in charge of the medical history as a whole (e.g. family doctor or hospital). Patients can also upload their own health data and documents (e.g. existing allergies, patient decrees etc.).