Maccabi also runs a centralised patient database, providing a breakdown of members by age, medical condition and whether they have already recovered from Covid-19. It means, for example, that Dr Borowski could pull up mobile phone numbers for every resident in Haifa or Jerusalem aged 55 and over with a heart condition. “You can query nearly anything,” he says.
“The medical records are 100 per cent centralised rather than being stored in a local clinic. So whether I am working from Jerusalem, the Golan Heights or Eilat, I can see all my patient records.”
To keep the records fresh, Maccabi receives automatic updates from Bituah Leumi, the Israeli social security system, and the Israeli Ministry of Health. The system doesn’t keep track of whether someone has left Israel, but Dr Borowski says he can usually confirm that himself with a quick email.
The paperless system stands in contrast with the NHS model, where patients can book a vaccine appointment online but first need to have received a letter.
The NHS website currently warns patients that “you might not get your letter straight away”. Further safeguards are in place in Israel if the patient fails to respond to the first text message, Dr Borowski said. “They will get a phone call. For some Israelis, Hebrew is not their first language. So, we will have someone speak to them in their first language, such as English, Russian or Arabic,” he added.