The transition from the health insurance card to the electronic healthcare card also requires the involvement of health professionals. With the electronic health professional card (HPC), doctors, dentists, and pharmacists possess the physical counterpart to the electronic healthcare card and can therefore access patient data securely.
The HPC is a personal photo ID that provides access to electronic healthcare cards and the telematics infrastructure. Certificates are used to determine whether or not the doctor is allowed to access the patient’s medical data. This access is only possible with the express agreement of the patient. Communication between the health professional card and the telematics infrastructure is enabled through the tried-and-tested combination of security mechanisms such as authentication, encryption, and digital signature. All communication processes between the health professional card, the electronic healthcare card, and the telematics system are secure and efficient. The health professional card can be seamlessly integrated into normal procedures at doctors’ practices or pharmacies.
The introduction of the electronic healthcare card and the health professional card in Germany is one of the largest IT infrastructure projects in the world to date - 82 million insured and around 350,000 health professionals are to receive the new smartcards. G&D was tasked with one of the pilot projects for trialling an electronic doctor’s card back in 2003. Identity verification, encryption, and valid electronic signature have been brought together to create an interoperable system that combines economic efficiency and user-friendliness with the highest levels of data security.