The Federal Act on the Electronic Patient Record (EPRA) sets out the framework conditions for the introduction and dissemination of the electronic patient record. The Act will undergo comprehensive revision over the next few years.
The electronic patient record is an important tool in healthcare. All information important for treatment can be stored in it and can be accessed at any time by the patient or authorised healthcare professionals.
The electronic patient record will
- strengthen the quality of medical treatment,
- improve treatment processes,
- increase patient safety,
- increase efficiency in the healthcare system, and
- promote health literacy among patients.
There is currently no clear division of tasks and competencies between the Confederation and the cantons and no long-term financing for the successful introduction and dissemination of the electronic patient record (EPR). This situation was stated by the Federal Council in a report dated August 2021 (Wehrli postulate 18.4328 - available in German, French and Italian). On 27 April 2022, the Federal Council therefore mandated the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA) to draw up two consultation documents:
- one for a comprehensive revision of the Federal Act on the Electronic Patient Record (EPRA), and
- one for transitional funding until the comprehensive revision enters into force.
In addition, the implementing legislation will be revised annually, ensuring that the EPR keeps up with the state of the art and is further developed.
The core communities (available in German, French and Italian) and cantons are required to continue to actively disseminate the electronic patient record through appropriate measures until the EPRA revisions enter into force.
The FOPH and eHealth Suisse will also support the dissemination of the electronic patient record with a wide-ranging national information campaign over a limited period.
Comprehensive EPRA revision
The Federal Council aims to further develop the electronic patient record (EPR) through a range of measures. The bill comprises the following basic parameters:
- The division of tasks and competencies between the Confederation and the cantons to ensure long-term financing of the EPR. In future, the federal government will coordinate and finance the further development of the EPR in terms of content. The cantons will be responsible for financing the core communities. They will ensure that at least one core community is active in their territory.
- To promote use of EPRs, an EPR will be opened automatically and free of charge for every person resident in Switzerland with mandatory health insurance or military insurance. People can also choose to opt out of having an EPR.
- The requirement for all healthcare professionals working in an outpatient setting to maintain EPRs (implementation motion SGK-N 19.3955 - available in German, French and Italian) and record treatment-relevant data on patients in EPRs.
- The use of data for research purposes. The revision of the Act will create the possibility for patients to give express consent to making non-anonymised medical data in their EPR available for research purposes.
- The use of a future national e-ID (electronic identification) to access the EPR.
The submission for comprehensive revision of the EPRA was referred for consultation on 28 June 2023. The consultation will run until 19 October 2023.
The comprehensive revision of the EPRA will take several years. Transitional financing over a limited period should therefore ensure financing for the core communities until the comprehensively revised Act comes into force. This partial revision should also establish the EPR as a tool in compulsory health insurance. It should also make the process for opening an electronic patient record more straightforward.
The consultation on the submission for transitional financing ran between 26 January and 2 May 2023. The opinions submitted during the consultation can be found on Fedlex. The dispatch will be transmitted to Parliament in September 2023.
As part of the annual revisions of the implementing legislation for the EPRA, the FOPH and eHealth Suisse will collate requirements for further development and updates for the electronic patient record. A legal basis for the introduction of a national electronic medication plan in the EPR has already been created, and the technical and organisational certification requirements for communities and core communities have already been amended.
The revised annexes to the FDHA Ordinance on the Electronic Patient Record (EPRO-FDHA) for this annual revision entered into force on 1 June 2023. Stakeholders now have until 31 May 2024 to implement these changes. The updated annexes to the FDHA Ordinance and the explanatory notes have been published on the FOPH website: Electronic patient record legislation (EPRA) (available in German, French and Italian).
Factsheets on the electronic patient record
- Federal Act on the Electronic Patient Record: The four cornerstones of revision (PDF, 79 kB, 27.06.2023)
- Electronic patient records in figures (PDF, 186 kB, 27.06.2023)
- The benefits of electronic patient records (PDF, 117 kB, 27.06.2023)
- Electronic patient records and data security (PDF, 101 kB, 27.06.2023)
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Last modification 13.09.2023