Germany halts smart-card program for security review

One of the largest deployments of healthcare smart cards in the world is on hold, pending review of the security and confidentiality of the program, which was intended to mobilize health data for 80 million people in Germany.

Citing a BMJ report, E-Health Europe says that the new coalition government in Germany will take a closer look at how to safeguard health information on electronic cards, in response to long-held concerns from physicians and security consultants. German Health Minister Philipp Rösler says that the rollout for now will be restricted to certain trial areas and will keep most clinical information off the cards. Instead, the cards will contain only a photograph, patient demographic information and insurance status. With patient consent, the health officials will add a limited clinical record for emergency use only.

The program has been plagued with delays and cost overruns for several years. All 80 million people on German health plans were to be using the cards at clinics, hospitals and pharmacies nationwide by January 2006.

To learn more:
- take a look at this E-Health Europe story