Zig billions for electronic health card

Zig billions for electronic health card / Health News

The new electronic health card: billions in costs without added value


Even before its introduction, the electronic health card (eGK) was massively criticized. Patient associations feared, among other things, a misuse of stored data. Because in the future not only the master data will be stored on the eGK, but also sensitive information on illnesses or prescribed medicines could be saved and read out by the attending physicians. Whether the health insurance companies introduce these additional functions for their insured, however, lies in their own discretion.

Another major criticism of the electronic health card was the extremely high costs associated with its introduction. Significantly more than 800 million euros have already been invested here, without the card currently bringing significant improvements compared to the old insurance card. A considerable added value for patients and physicians would be the storage of important additional information (pre-existing diseases, allergies, patient files, etc.), but here the concerns about data security are particularly high. It will therefore take until at least 2018 before such additional functions of the card are introduced, reports the news agency „dpa“. It is possible that some insurance companies do not use data storage as they decide to use this option in the end. The eGK could thus become a billion-dollar grave, which brings no improvements for the patients.

Electronic health card does not meet the expectations
The introduction of the electronic health card was decided in 2003 by the red-green federal government under Gerhard Schröder. In particular, the improvement of the exchange of information between the treating physicians was a key argument in favor of the envisaged data storage on the eGC. In 2011, the first electronic health cards were issued and since the beginning of this year all insured persons should have their new card in their pocket. The only real novelty at this is so far but the printed passport photo. This is also the point of criticism from the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV), which criticized the fact that plans to improve communication between doctors and patients had fallen by the wayside when implementing the huge IT project. It was only created a cash-centric telematics infrastructure, among other things, for the insured master data management, so the charge.

Although there have been many criticisms of the new eGC and the hoped-for added value for patients and doctors may never be achieved, the introduction has now progressed so far that there is virtually no going back. The cost limit of one billion euros will be exceeded this year, the new card readers are installed in all medical practices and most of the insured already have their new electronic health card. The system is thus already established and an exit would again involve considerable costs. (Fp)