A Comprehensive Healthcare Card for Austria

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European Health Insurance

Healthcare vouchers have become extinct in Austria thanks to the advent earlier this year of the country's healthcare e-card system. This new system has numerous advantages for patients, doctors, employers and statutory insurers in that it has established an extensive and efficient nationwide healthcare network, as well as the infrastructure for a series of potential future application.

Eight million insured persons and nearly 12,000 physicians integrated into the system in a mere six months.

Six months following the e-card's launch, every Austrian citizen has a personalised e-card. A total of eight million cards were distributed in the initial mailing. By the end of this year, all 11,700 healthcare facilities in the statutory insurance system will have been integrated into the e-card platform. Anywhere from 280,000 to 350,000 patient contacts are processed daily via the e-card system.

The e-card: more than a mere electronic healthcare voucher

For patients, the e-card is much more than a debit card-like healthcare voucher. The card is in fact the gateway to all services that are available in the Austrian healthcare system.

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In view of the card's importance, only the cardholder's name and insurance number - but no health related data - are stored on the e-card, which automatically asks the system online whether the patient is insured, and if so by whom.

The e-card can also be used as a citizens card, thus making Austria the first country in the world to introduce an all in one citizens card that enables Austrians to access government services (subject to successful certification).

The back of the card contains the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which has supplanted the foreign health insurance voucher for the use of medical services during brief stays abroad (e.g. vacation) in EU and EEC states, as well as Switzerland.

Features of the Austrian e-card system

The Austrian e-card represents a major step forward in numerous respects. Among the card's strengths are the high level of security it provides (no sensitive data is stored on the card), the fact that it doubles as a citizens card, and its potential as a gateway to future healthcare applications.

For further information visit http://www.chipkarte.at

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