Japan to start electronic medical records sharing system

Japan to start electronic medical records sharing system

A system through which parts of patients' electronic medical records could be shared and viewed at medical facilities and pharmacies across Japan is in the pipeline, according to a draft project schedule from the government. The move comes as the government pushes for greater use of digital technology in health care settings.

The envisioned system aims to enable hospitals and local governments to share patient information when an infectious disease is spreading rapidly or during other health emergencies, as a result of lessons learned during the novel coronaviruses epidemic, according to The Yomiuri Shimbun.

The schedule is likely to be approved as soon as next month by the government's Headquarters for Medical Digital Transformation DX Promotion, chaired by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

A tentatively named electronic medical record information sharing service that can be used by medical facilities and pharmacies across the nation will be established, according to the draft. The service will allow details such as medical checkup results, allergy information, and prescribed medication to be shared and viewed. The draft does not indicate any target deadlines for the expansion of the range of information shared through the system. Patients will need to provide consent to be included on the system.

The draft specifies the establishment of a mechanism that would make viewable information essential for emergency medical care, such as a patient's medical history, chronic illnesses and allergies.

The government will push to share patient information with local authorities and nursing care providers to help shift paperwork for nursing care services and medical expense subsidies online. The government will establish a system through which patients can verify details, such as the results of their medical tests, on the government's Mynaportal site, a special website that can be used with a My Number identification card.

The sharing of patient information, such as medical history and medications administered, between hospitals and local governments became a pressing issue because of the COVID 19 epidemic. The need to report patient information to public health centers added to the workload of staff at medical facilities. The government is considering ways to improve information sharing and reduce the burden for medical staff.

More than 90% of hospitals have already introduced electronic medical records, but this figure falls below 50% at small hospitals and medical clinics, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry. In order to address the deep-rooted concerns that medical information could be leaked when shared, the government is preparing to explain the benefits of sharing this information, and the steps that will be taken to prevent unauthorized access to private data.