Germany pilots health service smartcards

IT services provider T-Systems International is working with a German health care and insurance group to pilot electronic health cards in the country, as the German government considers a national roll-out of the technology.

IT services provider T-Systems International is working with a German health care and insurance group to pilot electronic health cards in the country, as the German government considers a national roll-out of the technology.

The pilot involves three doctors' surgeries, 50 customers of health care group Bundesknappschaft and one of the company’s hospitals in Bottrop, Germany.

The main aim of the project is to test acceptance and see if it provides a good model for the country’s national health insurance schemes, which support up to 70 million people.

The cards will also be used to test the viability of storing patient records on a card, as an alternative to moving paper files from one treatment centre to another or the proposed central data repository being implemented by the UK’s National Programme for IT in the NHS.

In the first quarter of next year, T-Systems, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, and Bundesknappschaft plan to issue the cards to around 20,000 insured patients and doctors and medical staff, who will use the cards to access the confidential patient information.

The German government is considering a national scheme to manage patient data access at state-owned medical facilities.

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