Safe use of eHealth

Care providers must ensure the quality and safety of the care they provide, including eHealth. This is subject to supervision by the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate (IGJ). The IGJ’s supervision covers areas such as the organisation and implementation of eHealth, patient involvement, information exchange and information security. The focus areas of the IGJ are described in the assessment framework entitled 'The Use of eHealth by care providers'. The Healthcare Quality, Complaints and Dispute Act (Wkkgz), in conjunction with other laws and regulations, is the legal framework for this supervision.

Supervision of eHealth at care providers

Digital innovations can be found in all healthcare sectors. Care providers are becoming increasingly dependent on a range of eHealth applications. For example, digital patient and client dossiers and digital prescription systems are now firmly established in healthcare. The digital exchange of information among different care providers has become very important for networked care. Video calls and home monitoring tools are creating more and more opportunities for remote care arrangements.

One of the risks in the use of eHealth, therefore, is its dependence on technology. For example, an ICT outage (English) will immediately affect the care. A study commissioned by the Netherlands Association for Clinical Physics showed that ICT-related issues come in fourth place in a nationwide Safe Incident Reporting (VIM) inventory. If crucial information is not available, or not available in full, this may have harmful consequences for patients.

Laws and regulations and field standards for supervision

Legislation and standards in the field of ICT and care are in a permanent state of development. For example, in addition to the The Healthcare Quality, Complaints and Dispute Act (Wkkgz) (English) there is a Processing of Personal Data in Healthcare (Additional Provisions) Act. New legislation is currently being drafted that will make digital data exchange the standard for the healthcare sector (Healthcare Sector (Electronic Data Exchange) Act). The legislator has designated the IGJ as the supervisory authority.

The assessment framework entitled The use of eHealth by care providers (English) is derived from a large number of laws, regulations and other standards, including the following:

What does the IGJ focus on?

The IGJ has a permanent focus on the theme of eHealth in care institutions. In its supervision, the IGJ relies on The use of eHealth by care providers, an assessment framework (English) which specifies the IGJ's focus areas during audits of care providers, for instance. The reports of the audits of care providers can be found at IGJ Supervision Documents.

These are the focus themes for supervision:

Supervision in progress

eHealth is developing all the time, and supervisory arrangements are developing with it. This resulted in an assessment framework for home monitoring, for example.
The IGJ performs inspections, collects information and learns from the supervision it performs. It shares that knowledge by publishing fact sheets. One example is Extra attention needed for ICT in youth care, a fact sheet in which the IGJ describes the results of a study into ICT and eHealth among providers of youth care services.

In the healthcare sector, it is becoming increasingly important to also focus on partnerships of care providers. Finally, the IGJ also assesses the structure of the supervision of small care providers, for instance in primary healthcare: see the eHealth fact sheet.
The IGJ can also perform inspections during unexpected developments, as it did during the coronavirus crisis, for example; see the fact sheet entitled Home monitoring of COVID-19 patients.