There are plans in Singapore to enable patient’s medical records to be kept up-to-date digitally across the entire health sector in the country. These plans have been outlined in proposed new legislation. This interesting news came to us from Out-Law in their article, “New laws in Singapore to promote digital management of medical records.”

Even though a national electronic health record (NEHR) already exists for people in Singapore, private health care providers are not obliged to contribute towards it. They are encouraged to do so voluntarily.

Under this new proposed legislation, all health care licensees will be required to provide information to the NEHR system. It even calls for the individuals’ health data to automatically be uploaded to the system by health care providers, with an opt out mechanism for patients to control whether their health data can be accessed or even uploaded to the system at all.

This new legislation would replace the Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics Act (PHMCA). Under the new bill, licensing would instead be “services-based” to take account of “new and emerging healthcare service models and businesses that are not based out of physical locations, such as telemedicine and mobile medical services”, the Ministry of Health said.

Digital electronic health records have been in the United States for several years now; however there has been no mandate to participate as of yet – only incentives and penalties.

Melody K. Smith

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