Are there any changes in the documentation requirements and liability rules?
The Federal Act on the Electronic Patient Record (EPRA) alters nothing in terms of the demarcation of responsibilities and the question of liability.
The EPR represents a new source of information that is now available to you. It alters nothing in terms of the existing duty of care. As before, it’s you who decides in any given situation what information you obtain where and what you take account of in your work. The EPR isn’t designed as a depository for all the documents and information about patients. It’s only intended for documents that are necessary for ongoing treatment. This means you should make sure you only use it to store information relevant to treatment. Patients don’t have to be asked for their consent each time. If your patient has an EPR, you can assume that they agree to having documents stored in it. In individual cases, a patient may ask you not to store documents on their current treatment in their EPR.
The usual rules on liability apply
Matters of liability are regulated in Articles 41 and 97ff of the Swiss Code of Obligations and in the relevant special statutory legislation. The electronic patient record (EPR) does not create any situation not covered by the present rules. The Federal Act on the Electronic Patient Record (EPDG/LDEP/LCIP) alters nothing in terms of the demarcation of responsibilities and the question of liability. The matter of whether a violation of duties of care has occurred in the event of an error must always be decided on the basis of the specific circumstances in the concrete case at hand. The decisive question is whether, in the situation at that time, a health professional made a justifiable decision on the basis of the available information and diagnostic or therapeutic options. It is already the case that anyone who maintains patient documentation has to assume that third parties will trust in the information contained in them. They may become liable vis-à-vis patients if they suffer harm in the course of treatment by third parties owing to incomplete or incorrect information in the documentation.