How the electronic records will affect patients

As all healthcare providers get pushed to adopt the National Electronic Health Record (NEHR) system, here is how the move could affect the average person:

Q Who will be able to access my health records?

A Only doctors who are caring for you will be able to access your records. Other doctors will not be able to do so.

Q What kind of health information will be captured in the NEHR?

A The NEHR will have a summary of your diagnoses, medications, allergies and vaccination records from both private and public healthcare providers.

It will also include operating theatre notes and procedures, as well as laboratory and radiology reports. It will not, however, include doctors' personal case notes of each consultation.

Q Can my insurance company or employer look up my records through their company doctor?

A If anyone wants to look up your records for purposes other than your medical care, they will have to get your explicit consent.

Q What if I don't want anybody to look up my health records?

A Currently, you can already opt out of the NEHR. When you do so, your medical records will still be uploaded into the system, although doctors or other healthcare professionals will not be able to access them. The authorities have said that this will not change for now, although they are open to feedback on the issue.

Q Will all my old health records be uploaded into the NEHR system?

A No, data from old records will not be put into the system.

Q How safe is all this sensitive information?

A The authorities have said they will take measures similar to what the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore uses to protect its tax database from hackers and other cyber-security threats.

Linette Lai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2017, with the headline 'How the electronic records will affect patients'. Print Edition | Subscribe