Infineon Technologies AG is set to supply more than 40 percent of the security microcontrollers for the 60 million electronic health cards which German statutory health insurance companies started issuing in October 2011. The microcontrollers used come from the SLE 78 family which ranks among Infineon’s high security products and deploys the company’s security technology “Integrity Guard”.
“Integrity Guard” is one of the world’s most advanced technologies for delivering a particularly high level of long-lasting protection for the data on chip cards. Examples of the data involved in the German e-health card with six-year validity are the insured person’s name, date of birth, gender and address as well as insurance number and insurance status. Plans are for at least ten percent of persons with statutory health insurance coverage in Germany – i.e. six million – to receive the new e-health card by the end of 2011. In the year 2013 all Germany’s 60 million persons with statutory health insurance coverage, which is equivalent to around 75 percent of Germany’s total population, should already be in possession of the card. In Germany, there are about another ten million persons with private health insurance coverage.
Infineon’s security microcontroller in the e-health card is a chip providing state-of-the-art protection for the personal data. As with all “Integrity Guard”-based security microcontrollers, the data on the e-health card is not only stored in encrypted form but also processed in encrypted form. Chips with “Integrity Guard” have two central processing units which cross-check each other continuously. If they detect any error that might stem from manipulation, they take immediate protective action and abort ongoing arithmetic operations.
“Infineon is the global market leader in security chips for e-health cards and health insurance cards,” said Dr. Helmut Gassel, President of the Chip Card & Security Division of Infineon Technologies AG. “In employing our security microcontrollers, the German electronic health card is using one of the currently most advanced security technologies to provide a particularly high level of long-lasting protection for the insurance holders’ data.”
The “Integrity Guard” chip means that the e-health card is already equipped for additional applications which further raise the quality of patient care and the efficiency of treatment. With the insurance holder’s consent, additional personal data can be stored on the card, such as emergency data, essential medication, allergies, drug intolerance or indication of pregnancy. When a uniform communication infrastructure has been established throughout Germany, the e-health card will facilitate doctors’ exchange of medical information necessary for treatment, e.g. hemograms and X-rays. Benefits will include avoiding the duplication of medical examinations by different doctors, and the online update of administrative data, saving time and money.
Germany’s new e-health card replaces the current health insurance card
The e-health card replaces the five-year health insurance card used up to now. The latter had been introduced in 1993 for purposes including the reduction of administrative costs. At that time, all the health insurance companies in Germany – about 280 in number – had their own health insurance vouchers which insured persons had to complete by hand before going to the doctor. The administrative outlay and number of errors in transferring the data were very high. The introduction of the health insurance card rendered these individual health insurance vouchers obsolete. The memory chip of the health insurance card contains the insured person’s name and address, the insured person’s status and his insurance company’s name. In the 18 years since its introduction, Germany’s health insurance card project has used about 325 million chips from Infineon.
Infineon is the world’s leading semiconductor supplier for e-health cards and health insurance cards
Infineon is the only semiconductor manufacture to supply chips to ten of the currently eleven national health card projects in Europe. Apart from German e-health cards, Infineon’s chips are also to be found in the e-health cards of Austria, Belgium, Great Britain (without Ireland), Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland.
The security microcontrollers of the SLE 78 family with “Integrity Guard” were mainly developed in Munich, Germany, and in Graz, Austria. The chip card specific package was developed in Regensburg, Germany. The security chips for the German e-health card are produced in Dresden, Germany. Infineon has been the global market leader in chip card ICs for 14 years and has a 27-percent share of the 2010 global chip card IC market that totals about 2.1 billion U.S. dollars.
The security technology “Integrity Guard” deployed in the e-health card has received multiple technological innovation awards. It won the German Industry’s Innovation Award 2010 and the security industry’s “Sesame Award” 2008.
Information on Infineon’s product portfolio for chip card and security applications and “Integrity Guard” is to be found at www.infineon.com/ccs and at www.infineon.com/integrityguard.
A short video on “Integrity Guard” security technology (about 3.5 minutes long, in English) is available at www.infineon.com/integrity_guard_movie.