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Czech doctors, laboratories, hospitals and pharmacies are increasingly using the IZIP system of electronic health records (EZK, in Czech). At the end of April 2012, there were almost 200 million records stored on the system.
In December 2011, this number was 100 million; in all, the system has 2.5 million clients, 1.5 million of which joined during the past two years. The EZK service is offered to those insured with the Všeobecná zdravotní pojišťovna (VZP), the largest state-owned health insurer.
EZKs contain the complete history of a patient's medication records and lab tests results since the past seven years. From the doctors' point of view, the EZK provides structured information in accordance with data standard 'DASTA'.
Laboratories constitute a good example of how dynamic the growth of health records in the EZK has been. In November 2011, one of the largest Czech laboratories joined the system. Since then, 372 000 lab tests results from this laboratory, i.e. 10 % of all such records, have been sent to the system.
"The big advantage of EZKs is that doctors have the opportunity to view all lab tests run previously (…), which will help them to establish diagnosis," said M.D. Eva Tomková, the commercial director at the laboratory in question.
M.D. Jiří Bek, the EZK technical services supervisor described the benefits of the system as follows: "Doctors who make use of the EZK option during a patient visit are very happy with the availability of clinical, laboratory and other examinations. First, they do not need to wait to receive test results by regular mail, and second, they have up-to-date information about other medicines prescribed to the patient by other doctors. It is a system of collaboration between general practitioners, specialists and hospitals, and other parties in the public health insurance system."
M.D. Bek added: "Clearly, not only does the availability of clinical data increase the effectiveness of treatment, it also reduces the possibility of repeated examinations that are an unnecessary burden on a patient's body, not to mention the financial savings."
The two regions where the number of health records stored on the IZIP system is growing the most are Vysočina and Karlovy Vary. A second generation EZK is being piloted in both regions, where the hospitals can enter healthcare information on their patients in the system. If the efficiency and effectiveness of such files is confirmed, then patient will be able to access updated information on their health.
The Czech electronic health record (elektronická zdravotní knížka - EZK, in Czech) is a highly secure, free-of-charge summary of patient health information in electronic form, accessible 24 hours a day via the Internet and smartphones. It is a safe environment that links healthcare providers, patients and health insurers. It can be used to transmit and sharing in real time medical information between the doctor and patient or between different doctors. In the Czech Republic there is no alternative system of real time information sharing in this field.