Project Information

a) Overview

NETC@RDS aims at achieving initial deployment of an online service for the electronic European Health Insurance Card (eEHIC).

The existing service, already successfully tested, during a market validation phase, in 85 pilots across 10 EU Member States, will be progressively extended to enable “non-planned” health care access for European mobile citizens who provide evidence of entitlement in any of the upcoming 260 project service units across the 16 participating European countries. 
This can be via an eye readable EHIC, or a national health insurance electronic card, or via certain National e-ID chip card issued by the responsible government authorities of the participating partners. An online verification provides assurance to support acceptance procedures for both health insurances and health care providers. 

In line with the EU rules, all Member States and the EFTA countries are issuing the EHIC as a replacement of paper entitlement forms for trans-European mobile citizens to receive health care during a temporary stay in any of the European Economic Area countries. The NETC@RDS project provides reliable pan-European and interoperable solutions for the electronification of the EHIC, “another piece of Europe in your pocket”.

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b) Objectives and Benefits

The central positioning of the project is to serve as an experimental test bed for the electronification of the EHIC.

The established online verification infrastructure for cards or entitlement rights is the first real trans-European interconnection of different Member States in the eHealth sector.

The ultimate goal of NETC@RDS is to achieve full integration with the existing and emerging national/regional infrastructures for eHealth and eID through the initial deployment of common administrative dataset and process supporting the use of electronic health and insurance cards.

The project is aimed at:

- Providing reliable and interoperable solutions for the European Health Insurance Card electronification
- Enhancing interstate data exchange while using secure IT network software applications incorporating professional and personal smart cards with PKI and Digital Signature
- Contributing to mobility and skills convergent policy while improving Health Care Access for Mobile citizens

    These objectives will contribute to:

    - Support the initiative of the European Commission aiming to harmonize quality and availability of the Health Care and Social services delivered inside the EU
    - Reduce fraudulent or irrelevant claims, thus avoiding expensive interstate health costs claim procedure
    - Foster the Smart Card & Telecom Industry inside the European Union
    - Enable patients and health professionals to collaborate and share insurance and other patient data for continuity of care
    - Offer a user-friendly and secure systems to provide healthcare workers with important administrative information
    - Support increased mobility thus improving the citizens’ quality of life.

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      c) Users

      The most important target users are the insured European mobile citizens who could be supported by the European-wide awareness and adoption of NETC@RDS services whenever they need to access unplanned health services in other participating countries.


      The primary operators of the NETC@RDS services are health care providers in hospitals and ambulatory health care offices. Administrative staff in these medical units already frequently encounter persons coming from abroad and presenting their European Health Insurance Card. The value-added benefit of using NETC@RDS is that it can read the EHIC electronically. This enables manual and paper based administrative processes to be reduced and has the added benefit of providing an accurate electronic EHIC data set for post processing.

      The secondary target users are health insurance and cross border cost clearance organisations which have signed the NETC@RDS General Agreement, involved in the reimbursement process. Electronic data capture and automated checking mechanisms will provide a much better base for clarification of inconsistencies, acquisition of statistical data, and improvement of the pan-European reimbursement process.

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      d) The service

      The NETC@RDS service for electronification of the EHIC serves three distinct processes:

      - automated data capture for identification based on a common set of data elements
      - on-line verification of entitlement rights via national portals, and
      - minimal data provision which can contribute to subsequent back-office interstate-billing.

        The specific content of the NETC@RDS service is predicated on the patient EHIC data, and verification data in the national health insurance databases. The specification of this data is provided by the European regulatory bodies.

        The common area of interest is in mutual use and recognition of the pan-European standardised eEHIC as a means of validating entitlement to unplanned health care. In addition two other cases are included: optical recognition of existing EHIC cards, and data capture of an eEHIC identification data set, incorporated in a national e-ID from specific member states of the participating partners.

        The NETC@RDS service is expected to be the crystallisation point for a future electronic EHIC on the pan-European level.

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        e) The consortium

        The partners of the NETC@RDS Consortium are the providers of the NETC@RDS Services and include beneficiaries from 16 European countries. The consortium is composed of:

        - Statutory health insurance or health fund organisations
        - Technical and research institutions or standardisation bodies acting on behalf of the health insurance organisations
        - Hospital and/or health professional associations
        - Regional governments

          The consortium is politically supported by government health authorities.

          A full list of project partners profiles can be found here

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          f) Technical approach

           The NETC@RDS service architecture is adopted from the previous NETC@RDS market validation phases. It comprises a secure network of national service portals and databases, accessed from authorized and identified health professionals, certificates stored in various devices depending on the national scheme (e.g. workstation hard disks, health professional cards, USB keys).

          The NETC@RDS project utilises state of the art technologies, directly suited to the requirements of the service in the following areas: web interfaces, end-to-end security over network of national service portals, data repositories and access point workstations, data protection, individual authentication and provision for back-end integration and auditing services. Each portal can be connected to one or multiple national/regional registries in order to provide an online checking service.

          The infrastructure enables any health professional using the system to check that the patient’s card or any other presented proof of entitlement is still deemed valid by the issuing organisation. 

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          g) NETC@RDS Service Units

          The project service units are health care facilities (hospitals, ambulatory care offices) where the NETC@RDS services will be deployed and made operational. The total number of service providers to be equipped is 260 with a deployment of 500 workstation units (so-called NETC@RDS “service points”) enabling "non-planned" health care for European citizens who provide evidence of entitlement.


          service provider
          (medical units)

          Number of
          service units

          Institution responsible
          for the National Portal




          HVOS, Vienna

          Czech Republic



          CESNET, Praha




          KELA, Jyväskylä




          GIE SESAM-Vitale, Le Mans




          ZI, Berlin




          AUTh, Athens





          Italy, Lombardy



          Region of Lombardy, Milano

          Italy, Veneto










          VECOZO, Amsterdam




          SN, Oslo




          NFZ, Warsaw