As a patient you have the right to a carefully maintained and safely stored patient file. A patient file naturally has all kinds of advantages. This makes it easier, among other things, to view it and add your data.
What are the advantages?
A carefully maintained patient file offers benefits for you, the patient. But also for the healthcare providers who treat you.
- Your healthcare provider can easily monitor and evaluate your health. This way he can make connections with previous conditions or call you up preventively.
- It is a means of communication between you and all your healthcare providers. Even if you change healthcare provider, you will continue to receive the necessary care easily.
- If you ask for a second opinion, your new healthcare provider will find a lot of information in your file. This way you avoid duplicate examinations.
- In discussions about your treatment, the quality of care or your legal capacity, the patient file has an important evidential function.
- Based on the information in your file, you can obtain certain certificates for social security. For example, a certificate for compensation after an accident at work or in the event of an occupational disease.
- Your file is a means of quality control for your healthcare provider and his colleagues.
Add data to your file
You can have information that you consider important for your treatment added to your file. For example:
- results of studies by other healthcare providers;
- your advance directive in which you refuse permission for a certain treatment.
You can have incorrect personal data corrected , but you cannot demand that data be removed from your file.
You may view all or part of your patient file. You can also appoint a confidential counselor to do this for you. Your healthcare provider must grant you access within 15 days of your request.
You are also entitled to a copy of your file. A first statement is always free. Your healthcare provider may charge a maximum of 25 euros for additional copies.
Your healthcare provider can refuse you access to data if he believes that it poses a serious risk to your health.
- He must first consult another healthcare provider about this and inform your confidant.
- Your healthcare provider must explain the refusal in your file.
- Another healthcare provider of your choice may view the file.
- The refusal is temporary. When there is no longer any danger, you can view your file yourself again.
You can only view personal notes from your healthcare provider through another designated healthcare provider. You can never view data about third parties.
Thanks to Vitalink, the digital platform of the Flemish government, you can consult part of your file online.
Electronic patients file
Your healthcare provider stores your medical data digitally in an electronic patient file (EPD). This has several advantages.
- Your file is clearer , your data is managed centrally and there is less paper waste.
- The information can be shared more easily between the healthcare providers who treat you.
- You avoid duplicate investigations and administrative nuisance.
Suppose you go to an on-call doctor or are admitted to an emergency room, then the doctors often do not have your medical data. Thanks to the electronic patient file, they can check which tests you have already undergone, which medicines you are taking and which vaccinations you have received.
However, doctors and other healthcare providers are not allowed to share your data without your permission. You can register that permission yourself. After registration you can also determine who can consult your data.