The German government has announced the Nordrhein-Westfalen state will be the first to be given new electronic health cards, once roll-out begins.

The state, known as the North Rhine region, will be the first in Germany to distribute e-health cards, following an agreement between the state government and federations representing health insurance funds, doctors, dentists and hospitals.

Approval of the card scheme was formalised at a recent meeting of the state’s health ministry.

Roll-out of the smartcards is anticipated to begin in early 2009, following the completion of distribution of card-reading terminals towards the end of this year.

The state’s health ministry said: “The move will strengthen the pioneering role of Nordrhein-Westfalen in introducing telematics applications into the health services”.

The state says the project will only be launched once a series of technical preconditions have been fulfilled.

Once terminals have been put into place, the state’s health ministry will undertake quality tests before distributing the cards to the public.


Nordrhein-Westfalen (German only)