Analysis Spotlight: Patient Centred Care

Commentary: Sweden rolls out online access to medical records and is developing new e-health services to enable people to manage their care

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h359 (Published 11 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h359
  1. Maria Hägglund, senior researcher ,
  2. Sabine Koch, professor
  1. 1Health Informatics Centre, LIME, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to: M Hägglund Maria.Hagglund{at}ki.se

National e-health services in Sweden provide citizens with health information, contact details of providers, and interactive services where they can ask questions anonymously that are answered by healthcare professionals within seven days. The national portal My Healthcare Contacts lets citizens request, cancel, or reschedule healthcare appointments, renew prescriptions, and request contact with a specific clinician or hospital. Each healthcare centre or other local provider decides which e-services people can use to interact with them. People log in to the portal using either an electronic ID or their Swedish personal identity number. Recent figures show that over 2 million people have set up accounts in My Healthcare Contacts (about a fifth of the Swedish population). During November 2014 over 135 000 contacts with healthcare were made through the portal nationally.1

Sweden is currently planning to make full electronic medical records available to all citizens who want them. A pilot study in Uppsala County in 2002 ran into legal problems as citizens in Sweden did not have the right to have direct online access to their medical record.2 However, ensuing discussions resulted in the introduction of the Patient Data Act in 2008, which solved this problem. Through the Sustains project (www.sustainsproject.eu/), all citizens in Uppsala were given access to their records through the secure My Healthcare Contacts platform in 2012.2

Other national e-health initiatives under way include the My Care Pathways project.3 This will allow patients to follow, own, and manage their care processes online. Three groups of patients with specific conditions were involved in the initial design of the service.4 The project also aims to adapt and further develop the Swedish National e-service and provide a platform for developing new e-services (http://healthinnovationplatform.se/en/), such as allowing patients to track the status of referrals and other planned interactions with healthcare services.

Both the Sustains and My Care Pathways solutions are currently being implemented and evaluated in several counties and are accessible through My Healthcare Contacts.

Notes

Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h359

Footnotes

  • doi:10.1136/bmj.g7785
  • Competing interests: We have read and understood BMJ policy on declaration of interests and have no relevant interests to declare.

  • Provenance and peer review: Commissioned; not externally peer reviewed.

References

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