An electronic patient record is not enough: To involve patients more, the Spanish region of Galicia has launched an innovative patient portal in September 2016. Eight months later, the region could not do without it anymore.
[Valletta, MALTA] Galicia, located in the North-western corner of Spain, has 2.8 million inhabitants, a quarter of which is 65 years or older. There are 15 hospitals and around 500 primary care units. Galicia started to implement a regional electronic health record, called IANUS, 15 years ago. This allows medical institutions to share data and primary care doctors to perform teleconsultations with specialists.
In recent years, though, the need was felt to do more than only connect medical institutions, said Sonia Martínez Arca, Director of the Galician Health Knowledge Agency ACIS. This is why the concept of É Saúde was developed, a platform that brings together citizens, health professionals, and the public Galician healthcare system as the payer side. “Active patients help maintain system sustainability,” said Arca.
É Saúde offers a large portfolio of interactive and personalised health services that are accessible from any device with an internet connection, with a clear mobile first strategy in place. There are different security levels in place, depending on the degree of privacy of the information that is accessed.
A public level contains general health information and contact details of, for example, patient associations. A low security level that can be accessed with email address and password allows citizens to schedule appointments and engage in patient communities. And a third security level that that requires users to authenticate themselves with digital ID tools provided by the government of Galicia gives access to personal health information that can, for example, be uploaded by hospitals.
Compared to similar efforts in other parts of Spain or Europe, the uptake of the É Saúd services were pretty good, according to Arca. Eight months after the launch, 22,000 citizens have registered with the platform, and the number currently increases by 1,000 per week. “We have also performed an evaluation and receive positive feedback. More than 80% of the users they that É Saúde is an improvement for the citizens, and nearly 80% say it is an improvement for the healthcare system,” concluded the director of ACIS.