Gemalto issues additional 15 Million eHealth cards in Germany

Gemalto, a provider of digital security, will issue an additional 15 million second-generation (2G) eHealth cards to AOK in 2012. AOK (Allgemeine Ortskrankenkasse), the health insurance fund, looks after around 25 million people, approximately one third of the population in Germany.


Last year Gemalto (Amsterdam, Netherlands) issued two and a half million health cards for the German National Health Insurance Scheme. In this joint, large-scale project, Gemalto is responsible for the entire card production process for the health insurance company.


The new Sealys eHealth card features a portrait photo of the insured person on the front, which combined with the secure authentication function of the operating system, enhances the legitimacy of the rightful cardholder and reduces fraud, says Gemalto.


According to Andreas Loesch, vice president of government programs division at Gemalto for Central Europe, the ehealth card uses RSA function with 2048 Bit key length for authentication. Technical implementation was developed in close coordination with the German Federal Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information and the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) and certified CC EAL4.


The card can enable secure access to an online patient file and store electronic prescriptions. With the holder's consent, additional personal information can be stored on the card, including emergency data such as allergies or drug intolerance, says the company.


“Data security, privacy and protecting sensitive health data have been a top priority in the design of the new system where cardholders give their consent to store and share personal data,” says Loesch.


German health service is decentralized, with some 150 different health insurance companies, each with their own infrastructure. Around 90% of the population is covered by a state health insurance and the remaining 10% by a private health insurance.


Previously, the health insurance card needed to be replaced every time there was a change in the insuree's data. In the future, with the new eGK card, the required telematics infrastructure will enable the data stored on the card to be updated without replacing the card, says Gemalto. With the new system supported by microprocessor cards, data updates could be carried out at any time.


“The government has set the target to achieve a 70% coverage with this deployment by the end of the year. The current announcement of 15 million cards along with the 2.5 million cards already deployed last year will allow achieving this goal,” says Loesch


Gemalto currently had eHealthcare projects in eleven nationwide programs including Algeria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Finland, France, Gabon, Mexico and Slovenia.

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