EghtesadOnline: Iran’s Social Security Organization, the largest insurance entity offering health services, has unveiled its long overdue digital health database on Thursday.
The database is part of SSO's comprehensive plan for digitizing its services, ISNA reported.
Hamidreza Safikhani, an official with the Health Ministry, said the database includes subscribers’ health history, enabling doctors to better understand the patients’ condition.
Currently, for visiting a doctor, people with subscriptions can use the organization’s services by providing their national ID number. Doctors will check the number on the database via the Internet, according to Financial Tribune.
"Today, general health information of over 73 million people has been recorded in the database," added.
Over recent years, SSO has been creating and upgrading the databases to modern formats to make it efficient.
In addition to the database, doctors can use digital health cards, also developed by SSO, to prescribe medicine. Instead of issuing written notes, the doctor will type the prescription on SSO’s intranet site and the patient can receive the drugs from any pharmacy having a contract with the organization, which means most major pharmacies.
Each individual’s health history will be uploaded on the card. Doctors using specialized devices for reading the data stored on the card can access the patient’s health history without relying on the Net.
The other measure complementing SSO's digitizing scheme is the use of digital signature by physicians and electronic prescription for the patients.
According to Ali Asghar Ansari, the executive director of the scheme, the use of digital signature will also cut fraudulent actions and prevent the misuse of online prescriptions, along with the speedy processing and delivery of medicine in drugstores.
A digital signature is a specific type of electronic signature that identifies the signatory and authenticates the digital message or document with a digital code.
“Technical requirements for the implementation of digital signature and electronic prescription have been fulfilled,” Ansari said.
"The scheme can be run as a pilot for the volunteer physicians and drugstores."
Physicians willing to digitize their services can visit Iran Medical Council's website, Irimc.org, and apply for a digital signature. To do this, they are required to enter their national ID and medical identification code in the application form.
Reportedly, the project is currently operational at SSO's medical centers in 27 provinces.
The Iranian government has focused on digitizing the country’s old data infrastructure with several schemes to push both public and private providers to simplify several tasks, including insurance.
Until now, Iran’s insurance companies had struggled to draw concise figures on specific medical complaints in the country. But with this new system, large amounts of data will be instantly available to both insurers and government bodies.
However, the push to overhaul the system could mean higher premiums for customers in the next few years, as the biggest health insurer, could charge considerably more per policy depending on the medical conditions on record.