Outdated information systems putting patients at risk, claim pharmacists

Photo: Depositphotos.com
Photo: Depositphotos.com

Patients’ safety is being put at risk because healthcare providers have failed to set up a single computer system to share their records, a pharmacists’ lobby group has claimed.

The Royal Dutch Pharmacists’ Association (KNMP) said 99% of pharmacies still receive prescriptions by fax because there is no alternative system. ‘The exchange of information in the healthcare system is of vital importance,’ Leon Tinke, chair of the KNMP, told BNR.

The organisation added that 95% of pharmacies had joined a national network of doctors, hospitals and pharmacies whose computers are set up to share confidential information, but the system is not yet operational.

The network was devised in 2011, two years after the Dutch senate rejected proposals for patients’ dossiers to be stored on a national database because of concerns about privacy.

Tinke said the system had built-in safeguards to protect patients’ confidentiality. ‘In the Netherlands, patients must give permission for their healthcare provider to share medical information with other providers,’ he said. ‘A lot of patients think GPs or pharmacists have their details in front of them on screen, but it’s not the case.’

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