Bern University of Applied Sciences BFH, the Swiss Medical Association (FMH), pharmaSuisse, HCI Solutions from Galenica, Interpharma and the MIDATA cooperative have teamed up to present a concept proposal on how Switzerland can introduce a secure electronic vaccination card – in which citizens have ownership of their data at all times.
Paramount principles: robust data protection and patient data sovereignty
The feasibility study was drafted in line with certain key principles. Besides citizens’ data ownership, data protection is also essential and is given utmost priority in the drafted proposal. Furthermore, the concept proposal is public, and the standards of the proposed solution are widely applicable, meaning that the model can be expanded at will. The authors have also ensured that the proposed solution is compatible with other initiatives – in particular with the electronic patient records (EPR) system. This would allow citizens to freely move their data from one place to another. Another key point is that the electronic vaccination card could be realised quickly – as soon as a sustainable financing arrangement is in place.
Long-term financing and construction of the system as the next steps
An immunisation data ecosystem requires funding. The study lists in detail which components would have to be integrated, newly developed, maintained and operated. The next step towards implementation is to secure long-term funding, after which the system can be built and maintained. This necessitates private and public investment, as the e-vaccination card is to be available to patients free of charge.
The published study shows that a secure and broadly supported electronic vaccination card is possible for Switzerland, explicitly also that it is technically feasible to link it to electronic patient records. The study is very timely, because it is also interesting for the federal administration, who are currently working on the introduction of a vaccination card in the EPR system.