Sweden: general implementation of the DPN (national patient file)

Le Mag Article | 20 Jul 2012
Like many other European countries, Sweden has undertaken an ambitious project of modernisation in the health sector which relies on new technology. The objective, however, remains the same: to enable patients to better manage their health while also facilitating treatment paths and access to medical data for healthcare professionals.
With nine million inhabitants spread over 21 regions, Sweden launched its own DPN (national patient file) project at the end of the 1990s. Following an extensive period of preparation followed by tests in 2005, the roll-out of the DPN started in 2009.

Like the French DMP (electronic health record), the aim of the Swedish DPN is to strengthen:
  • Care quality : by enabling better access to patients' medical data (diagnostics, tests, prescriptions etc), the DPN allows healthcare professional to carry out more reliable diagnostics and prescribe adapted treatments. It also means preventative actions can be taken and it guarantees improved coordination of care across the country.
  • Patient safety: by facilitating decision-making by healthcare professionals, the DPN reduces medical risks and improves patient management. In this way, it means unwanted side effects due to allergies can be anticipated, and it allows rapid access to information in emergency situations.
  • The health system's efficiency: by providing easy access to patients' medical records, the DPN avoids the duplication of actions and tests. It also avoids patients having to go over their medical history again every time they meet a new doctor.
Currently in use in half of Sweden's regions, the DPN will be available to the whole country by the end of the year. In fact, its value and usefulness are clear from the recent study1 carried out among healthcare professionals in the Örebro municipality which pioneered the launch of this new service: 90% say they are happy and 60% say it helps their work.

Finally, to completely fulfil its promises to patients and the role they can play in managing their health, the general implementation of the DPN will be accompanied by the launch of a dedicated website allowing them to definitively take control of their medical records.

For more information, visit: www.cehis.se/en

1- See : www.epractice.eu/en/news/5347051