As a temporary measure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, emergency departments are able to request patient information from the general practitioner's record. This allows them to more rapidly and adequately provide aid to patients suspected of having COVID-19. The Dutch BovenIJ hospital was the first hospital in the Netherlands to make use of this new measure, known as the 'Corona opt-in'. Since then, twelve other Dutch hospitals have also started to implement this solution.


The influx of COVID-related patients into a large number of emergency departments prompted healthcare providers to look for ways of managing the workload. Healthcare providers from various fields joined forces, and a taskforce was established. The mission: to search for and supervise a method of making patient data available to emergency departments, even when the GP or GP out-of-hours service is unavailable or can't be reached. The measure was developed and implemented by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS), at the request of the various healthcare associations.


Further at the request of the healthcare providers, VZVZ (the Dutch Association of Healthcare Providers for Healthcare Communication) has made a standalone web viewer available. ChipSoft then took on the task of developing an integrated solution within the EHR. Vincent van den Berg, innovation specialist at ChipSoft: "The GP out-of-hours service already had access to the summary care record of the GP. The emergency department did not. We've now facilitated that, in adherence to professional guidelines. These guidelines dictate what data from the GP records are available to the emergency department. Should another COVID wave hit, EDs will be able to access these data much quicker".


The opt-in measure gives emergency departments the ability to request information for patients that have given their consent (i.e. have opted in) and patients that are unresponsive but are suspected to be infected with COVID. If a patient has previously indicated to their GP or the ED that they do not want their data to be shared (i.e. have opted out), their data will not be accessible. The opt-in measure only applies for as long as the COVID pandemic requires.


BovenIJ was the first hospital in the Netherlands to use the feature. A spokesperson of the hospital says that "the ability to quickly access data benefits every step of the ED process. It also relieves COVID patients from needing to answer all kinds of questions, because important data, such as allergies or medical history, is already accessible".


VZVZ also welcomes ChipSoft's initiative: "It allows the healthcare provider to easily request the desired data within HiX, without having to resort to an external system or workflow. It's a great contribution to the goal of the Corona opt-in: to provide better care to the patient on the ED thanks to direct access to the relevant data".


The NVZ Dutch Hospitals Association further adds: "The Corona opt-in is vital in quickly getting the correct information to the ED for the benefit of the patient. Having it integrated into the EHR streamlines the workflow, saving the healthcare professionals time".