13 Nov 2023

Health cards and electronic healthcare solutions

Guest blog from Thales.

Enhanced efficiency 

Reliable, secure, efficient, and connected healthcare IT systems are essential for reducing costs by cutting the hefty administration bills usually associated with public healthcare programs.  

They are also vital in preventing fraud - one of the biggest problems in balancing social security budgets. 

There's more. 

The deployment of smart health cards and eHealthcare IT systems streamline the prescription process, improves the quality of care given, and simplifies electronic healthcare records management through a coordinated health service process. 

​Why use a smart health card?  

​By identifying the holder and their affiliation to an organization and verifying their rights, a smart card acts as an essential component of the IT system to create and secure the transmission of standardized medical expense claims.  Dematerializing the medical prescription from paper to electronic format helps organizations reduce costs and increase efficiency.  Smart card solutions enable the pre-authorization of the health transaction by storing the validity of the patient's rights.  ​Costs are divided by 6 to 7 when processes are dematerialized.​ 

Dif you know that, according to CNBC, administrative costs account for 8% of total national health expenditures in the United States? The other countries (Sweden, Germany, France, Japan) range from 1 to 3%. 

A smart national health card is a secure document. 

Unlike paper documents, which can easily be forged, smart health cards are tamper-proof devices challenging to forge or unlawfully manipulate.  

They benefit from the inherently high levels of security already implemented in other sectors, such as:  

It secures identification and authentication. 

An electronic cash functionality stored within the card ensures the distribution of social funding to low-income groups.  

The card body itself becomes a secure identification tool by adding the user's picture and extra anti-fraud features – all of which have been previously developed for banknote and national ID applications and can be easily re-used eHealthcare systems.  

Smart health cards can also include biometrics to offer strong biometric authentication making sure health services are being delivered to the right patient. 

This robust technology can also strike at the heart of fraud mechanisms, often with minimal investment in infrastructures without significant changes for patients and healthcare professionals.  It protects privacy.

​Finally, the smart card enables the ultimate privacy protection by filtering access to sensitive data – only authorized people can read it, such as the cardholder and their doctor.  

 Assessment: smart card technology in healthcare 

Smart card technology is often under-used in areas where it can achieve excellent results. 

  • Strong identification and authentication for patients and healthcare professionals are critical features of microchip cards and should be implemented in the healthcare sector. Yet this is not the case in many countries. 

  • Implementing healthcare smart health cards with an identification number and PIN or biometric authentication would enable the creation of personalized online services, a quintessentially "patient-centric" approach. However, these initiatives are still in the development stages. 

  • The ability to verify benefits, expiration dates, repeated and multiple uses are under-used. 

  • Thus far, the benefits of paperless, electronic medical data exchanges have not been fully tapped. Yet cards have a role in creating consistent databases, automatic reading of data, and temporary or permanent confidential local storage of additional data such as blood groups, allergies, chronic diseases, and associated treatments. 

To learn more about how smart cards are transforming the world, take a look at the Thales website