Patrick Sweetlove, huisarts
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The Global Medical File

What is a Global Medical File? What are the advantages of having one? Who can open a GMF? Will it cost me anything? You will find the answers to these questions below.

Patient recordWhat is a Global Medical File?

The idea behind the Global Medical File (GMF) is to bring all your medical information and history together into one single file. The family doctor or "general practitioner" (GP) creates an electronic medical file that holds your full medical information. This includes allergies, the vaccinations you have had, the medication you are on or have been on, results of blood tests, X-rays, scans, etc.

Anytime you need to see a specialist or undergo a medical examination (e.g. radiology), you should always mention the name of the GP who manages your GMF. Ask all doctors you consult to send an electronic report to your GP, thus keeping your medical file up to date.

Why?

Your medical information is probably spread out over different places. This means that no-one has a clear and correct view of your overall health situation which could lead to misunderstandings or treatment errors.

Who can open a GMF?

The Global Medical File is available to everybody who subscribed to a health insurance, a so called "mutuality". There are no requirements to be met before opening a GMF. During a consultation, simply ask your GP to open a GMF for you.

Advantages

Although opening a GMF is not compulsory, there are a number of noteworthy advantages to doing so:

  • Your health situation can be better traced and monitored because your GP has an overview of your medical history.
  • Double exams are avoided (for example your GP and a specialist performing the same blood test)
  • Opening a GMF is free because your health insurance reimburses the full amount (30 € in 2016)
  • When you visit your GP the amount left for you to pay after reimbursement from your health insurance fund is 30% lower (see below)

Regular GP?

The fact that your GP manages your GMF does not necessarily mean that you are not free to see any other doctor. For example, if your GP is on vacation, you can see his replacement even if that doctor is not in possession of your GMF. The fact that your GP manages your GMF also does not mean that you are not free to change doctors. A GMF is valid for 1 year and can be renewed at the start of a new year. Should you wish to change doctors after that year, you can simply have it transferred to an other doctor. If you move you may transfer your GMF to an other GP in your new neighbourhood.

How much does it cost to open a GMF?

Opening a GMF is free. Your doctor will ask you to pay 30 €  to start the GMF but your health insurance fund will fully reimburse you for this amount. (fee 2016)

How long is a GMF valid?

A GMF remains valid until December 31 of the year following its opening. For example: You ask your doctor to open the GMF on August 12th, 2016. In this case, you could have a right to all the advantages of the GMF until December 31st, 2017.

How to extend your GMF

Just request an extension of the GMF every year from your GP. Even if you fail to do so, the GMF will automatically be extended on the condition that you have been seen by your regular doctor (consultation or home visit) at least once a year.

More info?

Feel free to ask me any questions you may have about the Global Medical File.

last update September 10th 2016


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