Electronic Patient Record (ePA): The Digital Record for Everyone is Coming

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Written By Kampretz Bianca

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From January 15, 2025, the electronic patient record (ePA) will be available to all those with statutory health insurance. Doctors and medical facilities enter your health data there. You can also oppose the establishment of the ePA. Here you will find information about the new ePA.

The essentials in summary:

  • The electronic patient record, or ePA, is the digital health folder for those with statutory health insurance.
  • Health data such as medical letters, results, medication plans, laboratory results or X-ray images are stored there. But you can also store documents on it.
  • ePA was developed for use on digital devices. This means that in the future you will always have your health information with you on your smartphone or on your PC or laptop.
  • The use of the patient’s electronic medical record is voluntary. Only you decide who you will give access to your electronic medical record. You can also oppose the establishment of the ePA.
  • Whether or not you use an EHR should not have a negative impact on your health care.

What is the electronic patient record (ePA)?

The electronic patient record (ePA) is your personal, digital, lifelong file folder for health data. Doctors (dentists), hospitals, physiotherapists and other medical institutions store medical documents unless you have objected to this. You can also save your health data there.

Also private insured persons may use an electronic patient record if their private health insurance offers the option of an ePA. However, there is no obligation to do this.

Good to know: The use of ePA remains voluntary. If you don’t want to use it, you can object to the installation. Your decision not to use the EHR or to have partial access to it should not have a negative impact on your health care.

What advantages does the patient record bring me?

In the patient’s electronic medical record you will find all the important information about your health permanently digital to save. This means you always have everything in one place and can view your health data at any time.

ePA has a number of advantages:

  1. This makes it easier Exchange of medical documents between doctors’ offices, pharmacies, clinics and patients, as the documents are available and do not need to be requested in advance.
  2. Unnecessary double exams are eliminated. In case of emergency, all important information is collected and made available quickly. Doctors have a better overview of your medical history. For example, if your family doctor refers you to a specialist, he or she will be able to view the documents relating to your treatment case and upload his or her own report directly into the electronic patient file.
  3. You can make it easier get second medical opinions.
  4. Changing doctors is becoming easier.
  5. On a Hospitalization Your health data is available if you do not object to the hospital’s access.

What are the disadvantages of electronic patient records?

Despite high security standards, data leaks and cyber attacks can occur. You can never rule it out. Sensitive health data can fall into the wrong hands.

The APE also needs a stable technical infrastructure. System failures, technical errors or a slow Internet connection may make it difficult to access ePA.

People without a suitable device do not have independent access to or knowledge of their own ePA. Furthermore, not all patients are sufficiently technically versed. Some may have difficulty using the EHR effectively.

How do I obtain the patient’s electronic medical record?

You will receive the ePA from your health insurer. Starting January 15, 2025, it will be automatically set up for you. You will be informed about this in a timely manner.

If you do not want a patient file created for you, you can inform your health insurer and object.

Children and young people also receive an ePA. Until age 16, legally insured custodial parents manage their children’s electronic medical records.

What if I don’t want an electronic medical record?

The use of the patient’s electronic medical record is voluntary. If you do not wish, you can oppose the creation of the ePA. This is possible within six weeks if your health insurer informs you about creating an ePA. The health insurance company will also tell you where and how you can file a claim. No ePA will be created for you.

Good to know: Even if you miss the deadline or change your mind later, you can still appeal. The health insurer then deletes the ePA that was already created with all the data.

How can I use the electronic patient record?

You use the electronic patient file with the special ePA app from your health insurer. Each legal health insurer offers its own ePA app. You can download them from popular Apple, Huawei and Google app stores and install them on your digital device.
This is what you need if you want to use the ePA app:

  • Smartphone or tablet with Android 9 or iOS 16 operating system or
  • Desktop PC or laptop with Operating systems such as Windows, macOS and possibly Linux as well as a
  • Security class 2 card reader with its own keyboard.

You must first activate the ePA app before you can use it. To do this, you must go through an identification and registration process. The exact steps may vary depending on your health insurer.

To register and log in, you usually need your NFC-enabled health card and the corresponding PIN or health ID, which you can request from your health insurer.

For example, with the app you can:

  • Upload or download, view, hide and delete documents,
  • Issue and revoke objections, for example, to the authorization of access by individual service providers or the voluntary donation of data for public welfare purposes,
  • Define access authorization and access duration for service providers,
  • Create and remove representations,
  • Manage someone else’s EHR if you have permission to do so
  • Control access to ePA based on registration data
  • stop using ePA and delete all data.

Can I use the electronic patient record without the ePA app?

Yes, this works, but only to a certain extent. The electronic patient record (ePA) is designed for use with digital devices. Policyholders without a smartphone, tablet or computer can still use ePA, but they must live with restrictions and can then use ePA use only passively.

This means: You cannot view, upload or manage any data and objections must be declared through your health insurer’s ombudsman.

Doctors’ offices, hospitals and other authorized medical facilities automatically fill your ePA with the necessary health data and have access to it in the context of treatment.

You can allow access by entering your electronic health card (eGK). Insert the card reader into the doctor’s office and enter the associated PIN. If you do not yet have a PIN for your eGK, you can request one from your health insurer.

alternatively you can Person you trust as your representative name. Your representative has essentially the same access rights as you would if you used the ePA app. Your representative can then contact service providers via a suitable device Grant or revoke access. However, your representative cannot delete your ePA or appoint or revoke other representatives.

You can appoint your representative in your health insurer’s ombudsman office.

Health insurance companies should Establish ombudsman officesthose with statutory health insurance, especially people without a suitable device,

  • support in the use of the patient’s electronic medical record and
  • inform about rights and claims.
  • You must also accept objections, for example regarding access authorizations or voluntary data donation, and implement them technically in the ePA.

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