Cyprus Mail

Technical issue behind ban on access to patients’ files says commissioner

Data commissioner Irini Loizidou Nicolaidou

The data commissioner has not banned speech therapists and other health professionals from having access to patient’s files but has highlighted a technical issue that needs solving, commissioner Irini Loizidou Nikolaidou clarified on Wednesday.

She was reacting to media reports claiming she had ruled out giving health professionals access to files.

“I agree that, in order to provide proper treatment, other health professionals must have some basic information from the patient’s Gesy file. I have already communicated this position to both the Health Insurance Organisation (HIO) and professional associations,” she said.

“Nevertheless, the Gesy system, as it is built today, does not allow for partial access. It’s all or nothing. That is, another healthcare professional will either have access to the entire patient file, which may include entries from physicians not related to the treatment he or she will provide, or will have no access at all.”

Technical solutions exist and should be seriously considered by the HIO which satisfies the needs of health professionals, but also provides the best health provision to patients.

For example, the structure of the system could be changed to provide other health professionals the right to partially access the patient’s file with the necessary information determined by the referring physician.

Alternatively, when the electronic referral is issued, copies of the necessary information such as X-ray, axials, MRI, analyses, could be attached.

The issue will be discussed at the House of Representatives on Thursday, Nikolaidou told the Cyprus Mail.

“I have not banned other health professionals from accessing Gesy patients’ files. It is the existing structure of the system that makes this access prohibitive,” she stressed.

Head of the Cyprus association of registered speech and language therapists Fofi Constantinidou told the paper the system is not adequate, and the change can and must be done to ensure the health professionals can carry out their work properly.

The fact that regulated access is not provided violates EU law, she added.


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