Family doctors head for court over digital patient records

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

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