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Family doctors head for court over digital patient records

Friday 07 December 2012

A small family doctors’ association representing hundreds of general practitioners is taking four big insurance companies to court over the new electronic patient records system.

New contracts sent to doctors by Achmea, CZ, Menzis and VGZ require them to try and persuade patients to sign up to the digital records system. If they do not agree, insurers say they will end the contract with the doctor, meaning patients will no longer be covered for their treatment.

The contracts are due to be returned to the insurance companies by January 1.


The VPG says its members will be breaking confidentiality agreements by agreeing to the new system.

‘My patients files will be able to be seen by all sorts of people. I have no idea what else will happen to the information,’ VPG board member Herman Suichies told Nos television. ‘It is like opening the cupboard door and letting everyone have a poke around.’

A major campaign began on November 5 urging people to give permission for their health records to be held in the new system which will be accessible to doctors, hospitals and pharmacies. The aim is to reduce unnecessary deaths.

The voluntary system replaces the controversial centralised digital records system which the upper house of parliament rejected last year over privacy concerns.

The new set-up has been developed by doctors, hospitals and health insurers and is partly funded by the government. Health minister Edith Schippers gave assurances last year that health insurance companies will not have access to the new system.

Earlier stories
America may have access to Dutch patient records
Digital patient record backers reduce payments to doctors
New life breathed into digital patient record plan

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

I hope our doctors win. They are looking out for their patients and should not be penalized and have their contracts end and patients be without covered treatments.

By dee | 7 December 2012 9:21 AM

good reason to advise their patients to switch insurers
Doctors are penalised if patients exercise their rights not to sign yo a voluntary system.
Democracy or what??

By nd | 7 December 2012 9:49 AM

Excellent action by the GPs. Informing on their patients is little different from the collaborators in WW2 who betrayed, e.g., poor Anne Frank, a sickening source of income for the Dutch tourist industry. My good friends in NL are resisting the EPD, since they were arrested in the War, with help from collaborating Dutch policemen. Since the insurers have caps and age limits on meds and treatments, where exactly is the line dividing these cases?

By Husserl | 7 December 2012 10:34 AM

One of the worst things to do in NL is to share (more) private info with insurance companies. They are just there to suck you dry.. I hope they get a huge fine just for trying to force the system they want..

By someone | 7 December 2012 11:15 AM

Senate has voted against EPD. What part of that don't the insurance companies not understand?

By pepe | 7 December 2012 12:42 PM

"They are looking out for their patients"
Dee, no doctor in Holland cares about their patients, they only care about money. They are scared they could be in trouble for letting patients die while they tell them to 'come back in a week and see how you feel' without giving any proper diagnosis.
They only care about themselves, that's certain.

By Marko de Vries | 7 December 2012 4:52 PM

@Marko. "They only care about themselves, that's certain."
Sorry to burst your bubble Marco but it's only your opinion!

By Donaugh | 7 December 2012 10:01 PM

Hope the Courts play their role and that this sickening program is called for what it is: ILLEGAL! They couldn't get it through the government and now they're teying through the back door. The whole Insurances/medical establishmenta in this country is sooooo irresoectful of patients rights that is mindblowing, from prcesses and 'cultural/philosophical' biases (really budget biases in disguise) that discourage exams and therefOre diagnose and treatment to abusive access and use to confidential data

By GCT | 8 December 2012 11:18 AM

What happens at home stays at home, wanna help with medical info? - then start telling the truth for a change! Big pharma is not our friend unless we are shareholders!

Democracy occurs for just one day every 4 years: Example: "How d'ya like ya eggs, fried or boiled?'.. 'scrambled please', "sorry, that's not allowed according to article 766b sub section G57" :P

By The brass monkey visitor | 8 December 2012 9:28 PM

How do you say the word, "privacy?'

By admitting you have nothing to hide?

Stupid is as stupid does :P

By The visitor | 8 December 2012 9:31 PM

If the insurance company is allowed to access patient information via the digital records sytem, what about the patient themselves? Shouldn't they also be able to access their own information via such system? If strangers can look at the patients' health records, the patients themselves should also have the right to do so.

By Curiosity | 10 December 2012 8:25 PM

It would seem that there's:
1. No regard for privacy in NL.
2. The concept of privacy is considered irrelevant in NL.
3. The Dutch word for "privacy" has been eliminated by the Dutch government.

(There may be other reasons, but they escape me!)

By Drawer 22 | 11 December 2012 6:09 AM

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