The electronic medical data card (eGK)

Those covered by statutory health insurance have been solely using the electronic medical data card (eGK) since January 1st, 2015, as proof of coverage by their health insurance provider. The card gives you access to services provided by doctors, dentists, and psychotherapists, as well as those provided by other medical institutions approved by your health insurance provider. The insured person’s personal profile data is saved on the eGK. Furthermore, the card has additional functions.

At a glance

  • The electronic medical data card (eGK) allows those covered by statutory health insurance to access services offered by the health insurance provider.
  • In addition to the insured person's personal profile data, emergency data or medication plans can be saved on the card.
  • In the future, contactless use of the eGK will be possible with near field communication (NFC).
  • The back side of the card functions as a “European health insurance card” and facilitates medical treatment within the EU.
  • Stringent requirements are placed on data protection and privacy for the medical data card.
Electronic medical data cards: a patient and doctor’s receptionist standing opposite one another at a table in the reception area of a medical practice. The patient is handing the receptionist a plastic card.

What is the electronic medical data card (eGK)?

With the medical data card – “proof of coverage” in credit card form – patients have a right to medical care covered by the statutory health insurance provider. Currently, personal profile data that is required for administrative purposes is saved on the medical data card. In addition to name, address, and birthday, it includes, for example, health insurance ID number and insured status.

When the patient visits a medical facility, such as a doctor's office, this data is compared to the data saved by the health insurance provider. This is done online via a secure connection. Typically, the card is read prior to treatment at the first appointment of the quarter. Some advantages are that health insurance providers do not need to issue a new card if the insured person’s address changes, invalid cards are detected quickly, and lost or stolen cards are reported swiftly.

But patients and medical practices benefit from having data that is always current, for example, to correctly complete documents such as prescriptions and referrals.

Why does the electronic medical data card require an identification photo?

Typically, the card has a passport-like photo on it. Exempt are adolescents up to 15 years of age and persons for whom it is not easy to have a photo taken, for example those who are not mobile or need continuous care.

Together with gender data, the photo is intended to prevent misuse of the card or a mix-up with another card.

Well cared for in the EU with the eGK

In addition to a photo, more information can be found on the front side of the medical data card:

  • the unique identifier “medical data card”
  • the name of the insured person
  • the name of the health insurance provider
  • the identification number of the health insurance provider
  • the insured person’s identification number
  • the health insurance provider’s logo

Furthermore, the memory chip with encryption feature is visible.

The back side of the card fulfills a different purpose. It serves as a “European health insurance card” and facilitates unbureaucratic treatment within the European Union.

Important: The validity date on the back side refers only to the European health insurance card, not to the medical data card. As the user, note that the most recent electronic medical data card you have received from your health insurance provider is the valid one.

For more information, visit the gematik website.

What are the features that are new since 2020?

Electronic medical data cards – new functions from 2020 include emergency data and a medication plan.

The electronic medical data card can store more than just personal profile data. For example, you can save emergency data on your eGK. This could be information about allergies or preconditions, or even the address of a relative or spouse. In an emergency, those authorized, for example the treating physician and medical staff, can read this data without your involvement. Furthermore, upon request in the future, additional information can be noted on the medical data card, for example where the patient's Living Will or Lasting Power of Attorney is kept.

Additionally, a medication plan can be saved in digital form on the eGK. This helps to identify and prevent life threatening drug interactions or reactions. It makes the treatment of patients with medication safer. At the same time, medical practices, hospitals, and other groups can exchange a patient's comprehensive medication data. 

At the insured person’s request, the doctor can print out the electronic medication plan. This can help patients follow drug treatment correctly.

If you wish to save emergency data or a medication plan on your medical data card, turn to your family doctor’s or dentist’s practice.

Data monitoring and data privacy with the eGK

Emergency data management and the electronic medication plan are voluntary medical uses for the medical data card. This means, they are used when the insured person has given consent.

Electronic medical data cards: cardholders decide what health data is stored on the card.

You decide who may view, update, and save your medical data. To release data from your eGK, you use a personal PIN number. You receive this PIN from your health insurance provider. 

Doctors or other persons with an electronic health professional card (eHBA) may view the emergency data without PIN entry by the insured person only in emergencies.

In the future, statutory health insurance providers will offer solutions to insured persons that allow them to autonomously manage their saved data.

Only the saving of personal profile data on the medical data card remains mandatory. This personal profile data can be viewed by health insurance providers and medical facility staff. Entering a PIN is not necessary in this case.

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