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Many doctors, one patient file

Whether GPs or hospital specialists – patients will often see several doctors from the time of a disease’s diagnosis to the follow-up treatment. Many different doctors have to work together, in which the patient data must not be lost. Computer scientists at the Centre for Information and Medical Technology at the University of Heidelberg are developing a new electronic patient file to enable the smooth transfer of patient data and enable the patient’s seamless and uncomplicated treatment.

Working in co-operation with partners in the Rhine Neckar administrative district, the computer scientists are working on a software system that makes digitally stored medical information available to all doctors that are treating a particular patient.

Oliver Heinze (project leader), Centre for Information and Medical Technology, and Professor Dr. Björn Bergh, Director of the Centre for Information and Medical Technology, received the TELEMED Award 2008 for the best short presentation held at this year’s TELEMED, which is the oldest conference in the field of “eHealth” in Germany and the national workshop of the German Association of Medical Computer Scientists (BVMI). The conference was held in June 2008.

All of the information is made available

“The effective treatment of patients requires the doctors and institutions that are involved in the patients’ treatment to be linked up with each other more effectively,” said Professor Dr. Björn Bergh explaining that this requires the linking up of hospital information systems or doctor’s practice administrative systems.

Under the ISIS (intersectoral information system) project, computer scientists at the University Hospital of Heidelberg, in co-operation with four hospitals of the Gesundheitszentren Rhein-Neckar gGmbH and the company ICW (InterComponentWare, Walldorf), have developed a concept, in which the ISIS patient file enables doctors and institutions to access information about jointly treated patients electronically. ISIS offers uniform, web-based access to the patients’ medical documentation. There is no need to exchange existing systems; the clinics’ and practices’ systems remain and are linked up with ISIS. Normal Internet access is sufficient for accessing ISIS.

All documents are immediately available: The ISIS file contains administrative patient data, diagnoses, findings, doctor’s and discharge letters, transfer and surgery reports, as well as images. The protection of data privacy is also taken into account. The patients have to expressly consent to the storage of their data; the data can only be accessed by authorised users who are involved in the treatment of patients.

Goal: health file to which patients have access

“Hardware and software have been installed and configured; now, we are testing the system with our co-operation partners,” said Oliver Heinze. If the testing has a positive outcome, then the electronic patient file will be made available to further hospitals and doctor’s practices, and then be developed further into a health file to which patients will have access and be able to enter data on nutrition, blood pressure, or general health condition. The electronic health file will provide patients with the power to control which doctor will be able to access certain data, also for a limited period of time, if so desired.

“ISIS can considerably improve the quality of patient treatment,” said Oliver Heinze. All of the information will be available quickly and completely, including in cases of emergency. The time-consuming and cumbersome collection of previous diagnoses and treatment protocols will be over, and the repeated, unnecessary examinations will be avoided. “With all this, ISIS will be able to optimally support cooperative forms of treatment,” said Oliver Heinze.

Source: Press release, University of Heidelberg, 24 July 2008

Further information:
Oliver Heinze
Centre for Information and Medical Technology
Tel.: +49 (0)6221/5637571
E-mail: oliver.heinze@med.uni-heidelberg.de
Website address: https://www.gesundheitsindustrie-bw.de/en/article/news/many-doctors-one-patient-file