German health insurer, Gmünder ErsatzKasse (GEK), has signed a five-year deal with Atos World line, to implement and operate the new German electronic health card (EHC) on its behalf.

During 2009, GEK plans to issue 30,000 cards per day in order to provide its 1.7million members in Germany with the new e-health card.

Due to be rolled-out nationally in 2009, the electronic health card is one of Germany’s most important public sector IT projects. The card is designed to guarantee the secure exchange of data between insured parties, doctors, pharmacists and health insurance companies and will serve to validate patient’s identity, rather than hold their electronic medical record.

The introduction of the new electronic health card is intended to help connect citizens, pharmacists, doctors, hospitals as well as the private and statutory health insurance companies. Use of the card will help simplify and accelerate information exchanges, reducing and in some cases eliminating current paperwork.

Atos Worldline, a division of Atos Origin, has been selected by GEK to implement and operate the issuing and management of e-health cards. Services include the implementation of the health insurance data, the running of the card application and management system.

Atos will provide its card application management system for the electronic health card ‘Worldline eGK KAMS’.

Atos says its Public Key Infrastructure ensures that patient data is securely stored. The keys for the e-health card Atos Origin will supply are approved as trusted services by Gematik (Gesellschaft für Telematikanwendungen der Gesundheitskarte mbH), the national body overseeing the German e-health card project.

Atos also says the system it will provide GEK is modular and covers all security and safety requirements for the card application management service set by the German Health Ministry. Services to be provided by Atos include: key management, card personalisation, online card updates and health insurance agency requests (VSDD) along with card application directory services

Norbert Schurr, project leader eHC at GEK, said Atos had been selected due to: “Their experience in the health administration and proven competence in processing large volume electronic exchanges together with their ‘integration’ and ‘business process outsourcing’ models were key factors in our selection process.”

“We are delighted to support GEK in the deployment of this strategic project for the German public authorities. As developer, provider and operator of the solution, we have the required expertise to implement a solution in line with Gematik’s security specifications and under GEK requirements”, said Willy Heeren, director Payment Systems Integration at Atos Worldline.