New Report Reveals Wide-Ranging Opportunities for Smart Cards in the Healthcare Market

Tuesday 13 January 2004 09:50 CET | News

The latest Strategic Publication from HBS Consulting, reveals not only the wealth of opportunities in the Healthcare Market for Smart Cards, but goes on to identify the size and nature of the available market.

It reveals that more than two-thirds of the schemes planned for Europe in the next five years do not yet have defined suppliers - and highlights which. The report will be of strategic value to both companies who wish to participate in the market and organisations, such as health authorities and government departments, who require an up-to-date analysis of the current situation. Against a background where the use of IT has become ubiquitous in all areas of healthcare, from medical records to patient management, smart cards have rapidly emerged as a key component of the system. These cards, combining both storage and processing capability, can be used for storing medical data, proving entitlement to services and giving access to healthcare networks. Extensive research by HBS Consulting shows that while data storage was originally assumed to be the major opportunity in the healthcare market, in fact proof of entitlement has become the dominant role for smart cards in Europe. A second emerging trend detailed in the report is the use of Public Key Infrastructures (PKI) to allow controlled access to data stored on networks. In this model the smart card contains encrypted keys and pointers allowing healthcare professionals to access patient data, which may be stored on a variety of different networks. This usage could be extended to patient health cards, an option which is already under active consideration in France. Patient record storage has found a place in some medical specialities, the Parkinson Pass in the Netherlands is one example that is examined in the report. Smart cards are in use, or about to be introduced, in many European Countries, and this HBS publication lists the schemes that are currently in place, with detailed information on each. The operational, technical and organisational aspects of these schemes are explored in detail, as are the obstacles, lessons learned and ultimate benefits realised by each one. The report also details the political and commercial implications of these initiatives, revealing emerging trends and discussing the realities of the timescales in some of the planned schemes. The report also takes a global view of the market, detailing some non-European schemes that are viewed as particularly significant. These include reports from the USA, where the addition of commercial applications to health insurance cards is being considered and Thailand where a healthcare function may well be added to the new Thai ID card. Canadian and Australian initiatives are also examined in depth. The European market will be given added impetus by a recent mandate of the European Commission. The E111 form, which provides entitlement to healthcare for Europeans travelling throughout the EU, will be issued in card form from 2004. With the population of Europe reaching a high of 450 million in the near future, what form this card will take is a crucial issue with massive commercial implications. HBS Consulting has examined the options and predicts a potential market size of over 220 million cards within the next five years. This latest strategic review from HBS Consulting places information about health cards within the overall context of smart card activity in Europe and of general trends within healthcare provision in Europe. Thanks to extensive primary research it features in depth information about specific schemes from their operators and it comments on specific trends within the industry, often from the point of view of existing suppliers.

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Categories: Payments & Commerce | Cards
Countries: World
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