If the tax authorities were to manage our medical data, a platform like #1Patient1Record4Belgium would not be necessary. And it’s strange to say the least. All your financial data – from loans, mortgages and donations to your main and additional income from years ago – automatically comes out of the printer of the tax authorities at the touch of a button. But a life-threatening nut allergy, which was diagnosed a long time ago, won’t show up on your medical records at your hospital. This same hospital where people want to treat your pain after cancer surgery with a drug containing traces of nuts which can be fatal in combination with this allergy. Because this is the story of the initiator Jan Vekemans, who got through the net only by his own attention.
Champion to collect this data
According to Jan, this is not due to the “unwillingness” of the medical staff or a lack of data. “The problem is not that the data is not available. We are champions in Belgium in data collection. Sometimes in 2, 3 copies or tenfold. But where to look for them when we need them is quite another matter. The system is the problem.”
What Jan would like to achiev – and what the petition asks for – is a system where every Belgian healthcare patient can have access to their full medical records unhindered and with full control over who they want to share with some data. “It is very important that you can also decide not to share certain data.”
In addition to money and effort, it will take a lot of time. According to computer science professor Harold Thimbleby, it’ll take at least a generation to make such a transition.
That’s why it’s important that we start now. Not only by signing the petition, but also by asking people to share their own experiences with the current system.
So be one of them and share your story! Your experiences with Belgian health care (or any other) can help our movement forward.
Be part of the movement