Data Protection Defects Electronic Health Card?


Electronic health card: first complaint by an insured person. Are there deficiencies in data protection law with the electronic health insurance?

(27.08.2010) The electronic health card faces increased criticism due to data protection deficiencies, which has now culminated in the complaint of an insured person before the Düsseldorf Social Court. The plaintiff is insured with the Bergische Krankenkasse, a relatively small health insurance company in Solling, where the health card has been tested since October last year in preparation for nationwide introduction. While the card currently does not differ from the normal insurance cards that each member receives, it should in future also contain emergency data such as the insured person's blood type, chronic ailments, etc., and should also be able to save an electronic doctor's letter to facilitate communication between doctors . In the future, electronic prescriptions or electronic patient files could also be saved on the card if the existing concept was developed further.

The insured person concerned is supported in his complaint by the independent medical profession, who also criticize the introduction of the electronic health card. The basic fear is that confidential medical data can be stored on the card and read out at any time. From the plaintiff's point of view, what potential advantages there are in the treatment is particularly questionable with regard to data protection. If in the future z. B. If the employer knows exactly about the health of his employees by briefly reading the data on the card, this does not correspond to the purpose of the electronic health card. The plaintiff therefore demands that he can be treated without using the card. In addition, his lawyer asked the social court to forward the case to the Federal Constitutional Court so that a general judgment on the legality of the health card can be issued.

A decision by the Düsseldorf Social Court is expected in the next few weeks. Neither the Federal Ministry of Health nor the umbrella association of health insurance companies has announced a date for the nationwide introduction of the electronic health card. However, the German Medical Association has just conducted a survey among doctors, which concludes that the resistance among doctors against the card is high, although most doctors are aware of the fact that the development towards electronic communication is unstoppable. In spite of the advantages that may result for treatment, the doctors also judge the lack of data protection as a serious problem. (fp)

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