Status: 07.12.2023, 19:15 PM
By: Lennart Schwenck
From January 2024, there will be a novelty in healthcare. The Health ID will complement the electronic health card. And could replace them.
Kassel – Almost every German has it in their wallet: the health insurance card. Since 2014, the plastic card had replaced the health insurance card, which was introduced in 1995. But now the electronic health card (eGK) is also said to have gradually done its job, in the course of digitalization in Germany. From 1 January 2024, the digital identity will also find its way into doctors' surgeries with the so-called Health ID.
The digital health insurance card: What the HealthID can do
The digital health account linked to the Health ID works in a similar way to online banking. The digital identity allows insured persons to log into their electronic patient record (EHR) via their smartphone and download e-prescriptions. These can then be shown at the pharmacy, for example. The advantage: a clear time saving.
This eliminates the need for additional visits to the doctor, for example to issue further prescriptions in the current quarter. Doctors can send prescriptions directly to their smartphones. This shortens waiting times at the doctor's office for everyone. At least that's the wishful thinking of the federal government.
"Digitalization in practices succeeds with good implementation in the systems"
"The decisive factor in new digital applications is the implementation in the practice management systems: This is particularly evident in the feedback we receive on e-prescriptions," explains Roland Stahl, press spokesman for the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV), to IPPEN. MEDIA.
He also emphasizes: "The applications must be user-friendly and as effortless as possible for the practices. In some cases, issuing an e-prescription takes significantly more time than processing the paper prescription. Ultimately, there is not enough time for doctors to deal with technical problems for the medical care of patients. This is intolerable in view of the already scarce medical time."
The electronic health card of the health insurance company is said to be on the verge of extinction. (Symbolic photo) © David Inderlied/dpa/dpa-tmn
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Fancy a voyage of discovery?
The Health ID contains all the personal information necessary for treatment in the German health care system, comparable to that on the electronic health card. This includes the health insurance number, name and date of birth. However, in order to create a Health ID from 1 January 2024, an NFC-enabled smartphone is required. NFC (Near Field Communication) is a contactless form of data transmission, similar to Bluetooth. To do this, you need the health insurance company's insurance number as well as the identity card with activated online ID function and the corresponding six-digit ID PIN.
The insured person's number can be found on every postal letter from your own health insurance companies. Identity cards issued after 2010 are also NFC-enabled and have a PIN. However, if the PIN has been lost, this is not a problem, because it can be reordered from the PIN reset service of the Federal Ministry of the Interior and sent by post.
Gematik – National Agency for Digital Medicine
The Society for Telematics Applications (Gematik for short) is behind the plan to replace the usual health and health cards of insurance companies in the long term. Gematik is designing the digital health infrastructure for Germany in order to further advance digitalization. The introduction of the GesundheitsID aims to facilitate access to online health applications for everyone in Germany and to prevent overcrowded doctors' offices.
The use of the digital identity is voluntary for insured persons
After receiving the new PIN, insured persons can contact their health insurance company to obtain the six-digit code for the Health ID. The health insurance companies usually offer their own app through which you can apply for the Health ID step by step. This is also how well-known companies such as AOK, Barmer or Techniker Krankenkasse handle it.
But could the innovation result in disadvantages for insured persons who have no or very little digital competence? Gematik answers: "No. The EHR only provides additional benefits. The quality of the treatment remains unaffected. In addition, the providers of the files are required to offer the solutions in a way that is understandable and accessible to laypersons."
The Health ID will be an alternative to the physical card, while the electronic health card will remain valid. It is not yet clear whether the eGK will be completely replaced by the Health ID at some point. Older people in particular, who may not own a smartphone, are likely to hear this with relief. (ls)