Authors: Paul F. Takac
Addresses: McKinsey and Company, 1 Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Abstract: Smart cards are essentially cards, similar in size to a bank credit card, that contain microchips. This chip enables it to store a wide range of information. The specific amount of information can vary depending on the size of the chip. A sophisticated smart card can today be regarded as the most portable microcomputer available. While the traditional application of smart cards has been as financial transaction cards, a wide range of alternative applications have emerged in the last ten years. The most prominent among these have been within the health sector and as security instruments. The application of smart cards within the health sector is an important development which is attracting a great deal of interest on a world-wide basis - with a number of trial applications already taking place. This paper critically examines the development and potential application of smart cards within the health sector. In particular it assesses the argument that smart cards can lead to significant improvements in the areas of diagnosis as well as medical record storage, thus leading to operational efficiencies to the general national medical system. The paper confirms that Smart cards, together with the information technology infrastructure required for their implementation, are therefore likely to lead to significant financial and medical benefits. Nonetheless, the paper concludes, there are significant issues of privacy which must also be addressed.
Keywords: healthcare technology; health sector; medical diagnosis; medical treatment; smart cards; microchip technology.
International Journal of Computer Applications in Technology, 1993 Vol.6 No.2/3, pp.112 - 121
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