France has always been a pioneer of smart card technology, first deploying its use in the healthcare industry in the early ‘90s. Simplifying the reimbursement system was essential in this country where over 1B healthcare claims are generated every year.
Symbol of the French universal health care scheme
The SESAM-Vitale scheme introduced a smart "Carte Vitale", part of a wider electronic health care solution, containing data to simplify administration, slash costs and provide a faster, more efficient and secure way of submitting claims.
The second generation, Carte Vitale 2, has been deployed over four years starting in March 2007 with family cards issued to every person over 16 years of age eligible for French social security coverage.
Nationwide, Vitale 2 cards have gradually replaced the Vitale 1 cards distributed in 1998/1999. Vitale 2 includes enhanced security features such as a new operating system, cryptographic capabilities and larger memory. Because protecting privacy is of the utmost importance, specific attention was also paid to the personalization processes in order to ensure a high level of security for each individual's data.
2016 facts and figures
- 345,6000 health professionals are using the system
- Patients are now reimbursed within 5 days
- 1.245 billion electronic claim forms were processed in 2016; over 90% of all claim forms
- Administrative productivity and process costs divided by 6 for the e-claims.
The SESAM-Vitale program, and the green smart card
that embodies the success of the French universal health care in the eyes of the French people:
- have simplified live
- have been an accelerator
in the computerization of health professionals’
- is contributing to the modernization
of relationships between patients and the health care
The contribution to sustainable development
is obvious, even if its precise measurement is
difficult, even impossible, as the changes are
Today, with the administrative sector largely
paperless, it remains for it to move forward with
new services such as DP (Pharmaceutical Dossier)
and the Personal Health File (Dossier Médical
Personalisé, DMP) towards even more promising
horizons for public health and the drive to sustainable
development. In actual fact, this is not just about
facilitating relationships with patients, but quite
plainly continuing to improve the health and longevity
of the French people.
General agreement on success
There is general agreement on one thing: the Vitale
smart card is the very symbol of these positive changes.
It is real, put forward as ‘proof’ that the system has changed. It is the sign of modernity. The
development of ‘reception’ services in conjunction
with the implementation of universal medical
coverage known as CMU in France, has been
brought about very rapidly.
A contribution to French sustainability policy
The SESAM-Vitale project is one of the three
emblematic French programs most often cited to
illustrate the concept of paperless procedures. As
was recognized by the report France Numérique
2012 (the French development plan for the digital
economy), ‘France has already embarked on the
path of e-government and has had success with the
income tax return, paperless medical expense claim
forms and the development of ‘télé-TVA’, where
companies can record and pay VAT over the Internet’.