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Germany is set to introduce e-health cards by 2018

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h2991 (Published 01 June 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2991
  1. Ned Stafford
  1. 1Hamburg

Germany’s federal cabinet has approved a new law designed to ensure that the so called electronic health card system is operating by 1 July 2018. The e-health card, known in other nations as medical smartcards and which allow digital storage and retrieval of patient data, has been plagued in Germany by controversy and delay since it was first proposed in 2002.

“Bickering has gone on for far too long,” said the German health minister Hermann Gröhe in announcing the new law. “It is now finally time to focus on patients and the concrete benefits of the electronic health card for patients.”

In 2004 the German government officially began working towards introducing the e-health card system,1 despite widespread concern among doctors about the security of patients’ data and the potential harm to patient-doctor confidentiality.2 The initial 2006 deadline was not met,3 and in 2009 the system stalled again when doctors refused to …

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