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Germany rolls out its second generation of eHealthcare card and prepares for online applications

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Gemalto teams with AOK for eHealthcare deployment


 Electronic Health c​ards for all

Germany: second generation of eHealthcare card In March 2012, Gemalto announced that it is supporting AOK—Germany’s largest health insurance organization—in its deployment of highly secure, second-generation electronic health cards​.

Operating in 11 regions throughout Germany, AOK insures 25 million out of the 72 million citizens currently covered by universal healthcare. 

AOK has entrusted Gemalto to locally deliver the entire eHealthcare card cycle, from production and personalization to packaging and fulfillment of each card. Certified BSI & gematik, this generation of eHealthcare card will allow German authorities to provide improved quality of service, privacy and security to claimants. ​

4 reasons to select Gemalto

Key success factors for AOK’s massive roll-out with Gemalto are both global and local: ​

  1. Expertise of Gemalto in nationwide identity and healthcare programs 
  2. Highly secure products and solutions with proven German certifications 
  3. Ability to manufacture and personalize in Germany with highly skilled work forces 
  4. Strong team commitment and cooperation since the inception of the project​.

But let's dive into the project now.

Germany’s new eHealthcare card 

Germany has seen healthcare costs exploding in the past few years, putting severe strain on its healthcare systems. Overall healthcare expenditures reached 11,3% of GDP in 2014.​

The reasons are known:

  • Advances in medical technology, 
  • population ageing, 
  • changes in lifestyles, 
  • increases in chronic diseases 
  • ising patient expectations. 

Germany’s eHealthcare card replaces the five-year health insurance card used up to now. The first generation of smart cards had been introduced in 1993.At that time, all 280 health insurance companies in Germany used their own health insurance vouchers, which claimants had to complete by hand before going to the doctor.

Let’s dig a little deeper​.

Second-generation eHealthcare card 

Second-generation eHealthcare card

​Data stored on the German eHealthcare card include the insured person’s name, date of birth, gender and address, as well as their insurance number and coverage status.​

In 2017, 70 million people are in possession of the card.

On the front of the Gemalto electronic health card is a portrait photograph of the insured person. It supports secure authentication of the legitimate cardholder.
As the protection of sensitive health data i​s a top priority, privacy is regulated by law.

There's more.

With the patient’s consent, additional personal data can be stored on the card, such as emergency data and medication, allergies or drug intolerance. In the future, the card will facilitate the exchange of medical information necessary for treatment. Its chief benefits include the prevention of redundant medical examinations by different doctors, as well as the online update of administrative data, saving time and money.

Online applications for 2018

Following successful pilots, a first online application to be introduced nationwide by mid-2018 is the synchronization and updating of patient master data.  

The same infrastructure will open the door in 2018 to more medical applications such as emergency data to be stored on the card, electronic medication plan and electronic patient record.​

The e-Health Act (Bundestag ​4 December 2015) has defined a roadmap for these different steps.​ 

By the end of 2018, gematikGesellschaft für Telematikanwendungen der Gesundheitskarte mbH), the organization in charge of digital networking of the German healthcare system, must create the       prerequisites for patient data (such as discharge letters, emergency data, medication data) to be made available to the patients in an electronic patient record. This will enable the patients to share key health data with their care providers. 

By 2019, each patient will be given a personal e-folder for them to file and access data from available applications and documentations. The patients can also use their e-folders to file their own data, such as blood glucose logs.​

A general consensus for e-Health

There is by now a general consensus in Germany among health care stakeholders  that e-Health is essential for dealing with the challenges of the German health sector.​

It's been evidenced by the fact that German health insurance companies will invest 700 million euros into the infrastructure of the digital health network in 2018 alone according to the 29 November 2017 edition of Handelsblatt​.​

This modern telematics infrastructure delivers significant benefits in terms of improved administration, better patient care and reduced abuses and frauds: 

  • Linking doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and insurers allows all parties to work more smoothly together – streamlining administrative tasks, and controlling costs. 
  • Access to patient data, including medical history, previous examinations, enables medical professionals to carry out diagnoses and consequent treatments faster and with more accuracy. 
  • The card’s photo identification and secure PIN access are keys to preventing risk of fraudulent misuse
  • To take into account the right of self-determination of the patient, they can decide which kind of medical data he/she will show to the doctor.​

To know more about the benefits of a smart card-based eHealth system, plese visit our dossier on universal health care and smart contribution​.