Iran to Introduce Digital Health Card
EghtesadOnline: Iran’s Social Security Organization (SSO), the largest insurance firm offering health services in the country, is set to offer digital health cards to digitize their services.
According to the organization’s director, Taqi Nourbakhsh, the “Health Card” will ease Iranians’ access to primary healthcare services, CITNA reported.
The details of how the cards will be used are still unknown. However, SSO said the existing paper insurance books will continue to be used for the foreseeable future.
In recent years, SSO has moved toward offering electronic services, creating an online database of its customers, while also upgrading their internal databases to modern formats, Financial Tribune reported.
Currently visiting a doctor, people with subscriptions can use the organization’s services by providing their national ID number. The doctor will check the number on the database via the Internet.
The database includes the customer’s health history, enabling the doctor to better understand the patient’s condition.
In addition to the database, doctors can use the cards to prescribe medicine. Instead of issuing written notes, the doctor will type the prescription on SSO’s intranet site and the patient can receive the drugs from any pharmacy having a contract with the organization, which means most major pharmacies.
Nourbakhsh said, “Each individual’s health history will be uploaded on the card. Doctors using specialized devices for reading the data stored on the card can access the patient’s health history without relying on the Net.”
However, according to the SSO director, the scheme’s implementation has faced a legal hurdle.
Iran’s High Council of Cyberspace said no organization is allowed to store citizens’ individual information on a card, except the National ID Card.
The official further said SSO is negotiating with the National Organization for Civil Registration, the Central Bank of Iran and one of the major mobile operators RighTel for designing the cards.
The Iranian government has focused on digitizing the country’s archaic data infrastructure with several schemes to push both public and private providers to simplify several tasks, including insurance.
The new system will also be beneficial to SSO that has more than 13 million families that have subscribed and some 35 million individual policies are currently active.
Until now, Iran’s insurance companies had struggled to draw concise figures on specific medical complaints in the country. But with this new system, large amounts of data will be instantly available to both insurers and government bodies.
However, the push to overhaul the system could mean higher premiums for customers in the next few years, as the biggest health insurer, could charge considerably more per policy depending on the medical conditions on record.