It’s not business, it’s strictly personal.

We wrote in a previous blog about why Jan Vekemans started the #1Patient1Record4Belgium movement. How, while recovering from a major operation, he was given hazelnut spread for breakfast despite it being known in the hospital that he had a nut allergy. This allergy was highlighted again after people initially wanted to treat his pain with a substance containing traces of nuts. The latter could have had fatal consequences in a patient allergic to nuts. The question everyone should be asking is how it is possible that this allergy is not highlighted at least twice on their medical records.

Communication problems

According to Jan, the answer to this question does not lie in the reluctance or incompetence of the medical and nursing staff or in a one-off confluence of circumstances. Jan says, “When I shared my story, I quickly noticed a lot more people had similar experiences.” Nor is it due to the availability of data, he believes. “We have a national obsession in Belgium with collecting and preserving data. My allergy is listed in several folders. Only these files live in different systems and these systems do not talk to each other. They are separated by regulations and communication disorders. The problem lies there.”

Coincidentally, Jan had been working for two years at the start of his illness at Intersystems, a developer of software and systems for governments, private companies and… healthcare. As a result, he knew better than anyone that his experiments and those of countless fellow misfortunes could be avoided. “This is precisely why I launched #1Patient1Record4Belgium and the petition.

What was for me a purely commercial matter suddenly became very personal.

Jan Vekemans

A petition for Intersystems?

With this – and with the active support of Intersystems for the initiative – the unpleasant impression may arise that the signature of the petition is a stone in the edifice of the business of Intersystems; that a personal story is used in a business marketing plan. Yes and no, is Jan’s honest answer: “Intersystems has excellent solutions for the problems described and what better for us than to work for Belgian healthcare? But what matters to me personally is new and improved systems design that solves problems, gives patients ownership and control of their medical data, and improves the quality of care delivered.

And if we could do this TOGETHER with all the actors in Belgium for once, I would sleep better. Mission accomplished!

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