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Time stamping and data authentication
  1. Philippe Goulard
  1. Correspondence to Philippe Goulard, Hospital Pharmacist, Director of Pharmacy, St-Luc Hospital, Bouge, Belgium; philippe.goulard{at}

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The use of a computerised medical prescription is an essential element for ensuring quality in healthcare. The sharing of secured data between hospital health professionals is organised through servers on cable or wireless networks. Then clients computer terminals or wireless mobile tools make it possible for the hospital world to access a patient's record, to prescribe medicine electronically, to deal with validation and dispensing of medication and finally to notify of the administration of medicines.

Over the past few years the number of hospitals evolving towards this system has led to numerous users moving to a paperless environment, whether at home, in a different ward or in the close proximity of patients (this still does not apply to narcotics in Belgium).

Authentication of data and time stamping

Understanding the importance of this major evolution, Belgium authorities have developed a protocol which has been approved by the Minister of Health on 31 March 2011. This protocol was agreed in December 2009 between hospital representatives and health insurance organisations, and set out the terms and conditions according to which electronic data can be linked in a precise way to …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.