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SFH on Electronic Health Record Sharing System

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Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man, after attending the launch ceremony of the Electronic Health Record Sharing System today (March 7):

Reporter: What can we learn from the examples of Australia and Singapore? Will we adopt Australia's opt-in and opt-out system?

Secretary for Food and Health: In Hong Kong, we treasure the value of freedom of individual decisions. Therefore, up to this moment, I personally have not considered the opt-out system. We will probably continue the voluntary system to allow Hong Kong citizens to decide for themselves whether they would like to register as a user of the system. Regarding the experience we can learn from other places, for Singapore, we think they are still in the preparatory stage of introducing such a system. We have been keeping very close communication and hope to learn from each other. For Australia, I think they have been using a similar system. When I mention about the security box or the safety box concept, I actually refer to the experience of Australia. Therefore, we will keep a very close watch on the continued implementation of the Australian system and hopefully learn from them the experience of, whether good or bad, the utilisation and application of the safety box concept.

Reporter: Patients at private hospitals (who) have health records can now access in the same platform with public hospitals. Are you worried that this would encourage them to seek services in public hospitals, and would it add to the already overloaded burden of public hospitals?

Secretary for Food and Health: I don't think so. I think the opening of a two-way communication between the public and private systems facilitate patient flow between the two sectors. There are many examples when a patient is referred by a private hospital to a public hospital and has certain examinations done. Afterwards, it is very difficult for the patient to return to the private sector just because of the fact that many important examination results are in the public sector, not available to private hospitals or private healthcare practitioners. So, the Electronic Health Record Sharing System works both ways and I think it can only be said that the opening up of a dual-track communication should facilitate the free flow of patients between the two sectors.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Monday, March 7, 2016
Issued at HKT 19:04


12 Apr 2019