The initial deployment of phase two the NETC@RDS project, an online service for the European Health Insurance Card (eEHIC) has begun.

A European Commission Information Society & Media spokesperson told E-Health Europe: “The NETC@RDS Project aims to improve the access of mobile citizens to trans-European health services by using advanced web-oriented applications either based on IT systems, smart cards or a combination of both.

“It also aims to implement and evaluate technical solutions for the European Health Insurance Card electronification and for improving additional services such as inter-European health costs clearing/billing processing.”

The existing service, already successfully tested in its market validation phase, will be progressively extended to enable “non-planned” health care access for European mobile citizens who can provide evidence of their enrollment to the national insurance scheme.

The consortium involved in the NETC@RDS project includes partners from: Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lichtenstein, Norway, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland and sub-contractors and/or supporters in many of the participating countries.

The Commission says market validation phase versions of the online service have so far been deployed in over 305 sites across 15 member states as part of the deployment phase of NeETC@RDS.

New sites involved in the project include ones at Hôpital Saint-Roch in Nice (France) and in the Lörrach area (Germany, French/Swiss border).

Having been successfully validated through 85 pilots across 10 member states, the NETC@RDS on line infrastructure for the electronic eEHIC will be now deployed across 15 European countries and its services extended to more than 300 service sites.

The Commission spokesperson added: “The current phase is the second of four project steps (initial market validation, full market validation, initial deployment, full deployment), and it aims to establish and demonstrate new improved health care administration services for mobile citizens across the EU. It also addresses the recommendations from the European Commission to evaluate technical solutions for European Health Insurance Card electronification and for additional services such as health costs clearing/billing processing.”

Phase two will establish and evaluate a number of large scale “e-EHIC advanced demonstrators”, said the spokesperson.

Phase two will build on the initial market validation work already conducted by the main Health Insurance Providers and the national clearing houses from Austria, France, Germany and Greece under the first phase of the project.

The commission hopes this will enable a full market validation/evaluation and preparation of a consolidated final business plan based on live applications in pilot regions within the 10 EU Member-States (Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Hungary).”

NETC@RDS hope that the new phase will help to simultaneously define, demonstrate and evaluate new associated administrative processes for use by public health insurance and health care service providers when providing necessary health care and/or immediate care services to European Member State residents travelling or temporarily resident outside their home country but inside the EU.

It will also establish and demonstrate practical technical interoperability for use of different national cards at the NETC@RDS pilot sites. The expected benefits include: 

  • simplified health care access for those with health insurance evidence of entitlement to receive health care while abroad in NETC@RDS pilot regions
  • reliable source of information for health care provider front office staff checking insured entitlement or initiating interstate billing/clearing procedures
  • development and use of common administrative electronic dataset for improved health insurance providers back office billing/clearing workflow applications and further modernization of post-processing activities.
  • valuable lessons from this advanced demonstrator for the foreseen phase three implementation (i.e. electronification) of the European Health Insurance Card.