An electronic medical record card has been undergoing tests in the German town of Trier since the end of 2004. The participating doctors are happy with the results. Unfortunately only 50 doctors have joined the project so far.
X-rays and diagnoses are stored on the electronic medical cards. Patients enter their PIN to allow the doctor one-time access to the data. Photo: vita-x
By Marion Lisson
The Trier electronic patient record (ePA) project is being extended to 2010. "It is no longer disputed that electronic medical records bring considerable benefits for both doctors and patients," said GP Dr Michael Siegert at an event about the electronic patient record. However, according to Siegert, what we need now is to get more doctors linked up to the network. At present only 50 general practitioners and specialists are actually taking part in the project. "We would like to broaden the basis of the Trier ePA Project to promote electronic records and get more doctors involved in the system," added Dr Erik Massmann, CEO of vita-X AG. The goal is for patient records to be available for all residents of Trier.
"Patients will be able to put their treating physicians in contact with each other and thus save long waiting times due to missing results or reports," explains Dr Siegert, who has strongly supported the project since its inception.
The Rhineland Palatinate Ministry of Health, the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians and the company vita-X AG initiated this project for cross-sector electronic patient records in Trier back in 2004. It is being scientifically backed by the local university, and more than 1500 residents are taking part. Each time they visit the doctor patients give their permission for one-off access to their electronic records by entering their personal PIN number. These records contain medical information on diagnoses, medication, chronic diseases, laboratory results, x-rays or ultrasound examinations.
"In my practice I use electronic patient records for ten to twelve patients a day," says Michael Siegert. The technology is now running smoothly. In most cases the general practitioner enters his own findings and the results of examinations so that he can refer back to them later. "However, it is a pity when a patient is referred to another doctor, an orthopaedist for example, who is not a participant in the project," he continues. This is often the case at present.
Medica: Halle 15 / E18