In Canada, patients are the only ones who do not have direct access to their own medical data. The systems used differ from each facility and physician treating the patients. This can become very redundant as the same medical data and information are stored in various databases. These databases can only be accessed by qualified personnel and the patient has no way to access this data and determine what is in the different databases as well as no way to change anything that is incorrect or not up to date.
Many patients lack control when it comes to their health records. Smart cards can enhance both privacy and control. A smart card can make health information both portable and accessible, allowing patients to access their personal health records when needed in a convenient and compact format. Some information that a smart card can store but not limited too is identification, demographics, health concerns, medications, allergies, immunizations and lab results.
When it comes to the use of smart cards in large health organizations and hospitals there are several benefits including improved quality of care, increased administrative efficiency and improved medical records management. Electronic medical records have had a huge impact on a patient’s record-keeping; the medical filing system is replaced by a computerized medical record system. All information relating to the patient is fed and stored in a computer. Access to this information is simplified by allowing a patient’s history to be seen with just a click.
Coordinated patient care is increased as many doctors may have access to a patient’s health record around the clock. Access to critical patient information makes it easier for quicker treatment and diagnosis. Filing of endless paper is reduced, and this vastly preserves the available natural resources.