Dutch minister pledges €75 million to make medical data available to patients online

Bruno Bruins to present a bill requiring hospitals and clinics in the Netherlands to enable digital data exchange.
By Tammy Lovell
11:04 AM

Hospital patients in the Netherlands will soon be able to view and share medical data about themselves online, following a bill to be presented later this year.

Under the initiative announced by Dutch minister for medical care Bruno Bruins, hospitals and health clinics will receive €75 million to help meet the new legal obligation to make medical data available.

The bill will also require hospitals and clinics to digitally exchange data with each other.

Under the plans, hospitals and other medical specialist care organisations sharing data will be required meet the safety requirements of MedMij, the Dutch technical framework for personal health environments.

The programme will be implemented by the Dutch Association for Hospitals (NVZ), the Dutch Federation of University Medical Centres (NFU) and the Netherlands Independent Clinics (ZKN).

WHY IT MATTERS 

Bruins said that making patient data available online will save time, prevent medical errors and mean that patients do not have to repeat their stories multiple times when seeing different medical professionals.

ICT specialists from the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport will monitor whether the data exchange between health institutions takes place digitally.

THE LARGER CONTEXT 

In a recent survey from HIMSS Analytics, the Netherlands was identified as one of the countries driving adoption of digital technology in European healthcare, alongside Estonia and the Nordics.

The country’s Acceleration Programme for Patient and Professional Information Exchange (VIPP) is helping to prepare healthcare organisations for the digital exchange of medical data and the government has made €400 million available in total towards digitalisation.  

One example of digitally enhanced patient care in the Netherlands is the ambulatory heart failure telemonitoring initiative, which the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, says has led to a considerable reduction in acute care visits, ambulance calls and hospital stays.

ON THE RECORD 

Bruins said: “With this €75 million grant I want to make it possible for patients to take control of their own medical data. Digital data exchange also prevents avoidable errors and leaves doctors more time, because they don't have to retype data.

“I find it impossible at a time when we can see each other all over the world, we are still using faxes in healthcare. Digital must become the new normal - and as quickly as possible.”

A spokesperson for NVZ said: “We’re proud that this scheme will allow us to build on the acceleration of exchanges with patients, as well as between medical specialist care institutions themselves.”