Access to an EMR
Many countries are implementing EMRs across health care settings, including primary care. In 2016, the proportion of primary care practices using an EMR was about 80% on average across 15 EU countries, although there are wide variations. While an EMR was used in all or nearly all primary care practices in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, its use was much more limited in Croatia and Poland. In Denmark and the United Kingdom, the proportion of primary care practices using an EMR doubled between 2012 and 2016.
In most of these 15 countries, patients are able to view information contained in their electronic record (with the only exceptions being Croatia, the Czech Republic and Ireland), and in half of these countries (Denmark, Estonia, France, Greece, Latvia, Luxembourg, Spain and Sweden), patients are also able to interact with their record, for example to add or amend information.
ePrescribing, which allows prescribers to write prescriptions that can be retrieved by a pharmacy electronically, can improve the accuracy and efficiency of pharmaceutical drug dispensing. Most countries are transitioning from paper-based to ePrescribing, but the implementation of ePrescribing varies greatly across the EU. In 2018, over 90% of prescriptions were transmitted to community pharmacies electronically in Finland, Estonia, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal and Spain.
One in eight EU residents made an appointment with a health care practitioner on line
On the other hand, ePrescribing has not been implemented yet in several countries (such as Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta and Poland), although all these countries have stated that they plan to start implementing ePrescribing at regional or national levels over the next few years.
Making an appointment with a health practitioner online
One in eight EU residents (13%) made an appointment with a health care practitioner on line in 2016, up from one in twelve (8%) in 2012 (Figure 8.3). Almost half (49%) of Danish residents made a medical appointment on line in 2016 (up from 29% in 2012). Finland and Spain had the second and third highest proportion of residents making a medical appointment this way in 2016, with 35% and 30% respectively. Virtually no Cypriots reported making a medical appointment on line in either year. The figure was also low in Greece and Bulgaria (2% and 3% respectively in 2016). In all countries except Cyprus, the proportion of residents making appointments on line increased between 2012 and 2016, on average by 63%. The greatest increases were observed in Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Hungary.
Making medical appointments on line had a weak correlation with internet access, suggesting that internet access is not a sufficient condition to making medical appointments online. A moderate correlation was observed with internet banking, suggesting that individuals who conduct their banking on line also tend to book medical appointments this way. Internet use for making medical appointments is lagging behind use for other personal services.
Source: OECD/EU (2018), Health at a Glance: Europe 2018: State of Health in the EU Cycle, OECD Publishing, Paris.