IHE profiles play key part in Swiss eMedication service

IHE Profiles have played a key part in a current project in Switzerland, developing the nationwide eMedication Service that will be implemented over the next two years.

The background to this pioneering work comes from a simple patient-safety concept – a significant number of hospital emergency admissions come from medication issues - either from patient or clinician error, an adverse / unexpected reaction to prescribed medication or an incompatibility between prescriptions. In all instances access to the patient’s current and past medication history is crucial to treatment and to a successful patient outcome.

In essence there will be an update to the core 2017 Swiss EPR law to address accessibility of this information and the ability to share with healthcare providers all matters associated with the patient’s medical treatment plan. This will enable better and safer care to be available and for healthcare professionals to have access to all medication records that could have a bearing on the best agreed treatment pathway for the patient.
To undertake this work an eMedication Service Concept has been proposed and various architectures considered; all relied on key components of EPR-XDS.b infrastructures. It was collectively decided that a distributed solution with several eMedication Services was the optimum.


The principle key requirements fulfilled by the eMedication Service Concept are:-

  • Smooth integration into EPR Communities landscape.
  • Use of IHE Profiles for a standards-based approach.
  • Compatibility with EPR Law and Ordinances.
  • The Service has real added value to users in terms of functionality and performance.
  • Many different user roles provide input to the shared medication treatment plan.
  • Contributors may belong to different communities.
  • Patients cooperate by allowing access to their eMedication information and associated documents from within their EPR.

So what are the key characteristics of the new eMedication Service?

  • There are two elements – eMedication Aggregator and eMedication Repository.
  • The eMedication Service is patient-centric.
  • The eMedication Repository is owned by the eMedication Service of the patient’s reference community.
  • Every community offers an eMedication Service, but there are functional variations dependent on whether there is a reference community or not.

Stéphane Spahni, User co-chair, IHE-Europe and one of the project leaders commented, “The importance and added value of supporting eMedication in the global healthcare process is such that it is expected that the eMedication Service will become an integral part of the EPR. We are confident that patients will significantly benefit from this new legal initiative through improved patient care. It is also reassuring for the future to see IHE Profiles are at the heart of this project”.

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