A smart card is a small plastic card with an embedded integrated circuit (IC) chip. This integrated circuit (IC) chip is a microprocessor that makes the smart card suitable for different electronic applications. The chip on the card is used to store, manage, calculate, and safely access some personal valuable data or information when needed by a card reading machine or other system. Smart cards use encrypted algorithms for data management and are considered safer than magnetic strip cards. Smart cards are widely used to handle sensitive information such as identity, finances, and personal health information due to their added security features. Smart cards are also used in several key applications such as health care services, banking and financial corporations, entertainment, telecommunications, government authorities, and transportation.
Smart cards in the health care sector have gained massive popularity in the last decade. This can be attributed to several value added features that smart card usage can offer to patients as well as providers. With the health care boom in the last few decades, maintenance of health data has become a necessity, yet tiring process in large facilities. Health care organizations globally are extensively using smart health cards that offer an extensive range of applications. Smart cards in health care can help enhance the security and confidentiality of patient data, maintain accurate patient identification across different facilities and geographies, provide secure access to emergency medical information, easy bill payment using the card for a financial transaction, reduce health care fraud, offer a secure medium for convenient medical records, and permit better compliance with government initiatives and instructions.
The global smart cards in health care market is anticipated to be driven by a number of factors such as growing demand for better patient data management systems and increasing inclination for electronic data management approaches. In addition, growing stress on patient data safety is expected to drive the market. Furthermore, increasing research and development activities by key players to develop new products is projected to boost market growth.
Based on products, the smart cards in health care market can be divide into contact-based smart cards, contactless smart cards, dual-interface smart cards, and hybrid smart cards. Contact-based smart cards comprise a gold chip that needs a smart card reader to access and interpret data, while contactless smart cards contain a microprocessor chip and an antenna coil that enables them to work faster than contact cards. Another key driver of the market is tamper-proof data storage. Advancements in product technology and rising awareness among the common people about the benefits of smart cards is also expected to increase demand in the near future.
In terms of region, the smart cards in health care market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, and Latin America. North America and Europe have been dominating the market due to high acceptance of digital mediums in the regions. According to a research study conducted by the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), smart cards usage in health care could decrease the error rate of mismatched patient data from 10% to 15% to as low as 2%. Additionally, new and advanced technology such as hybrid cards launched by various market players coupled with growing online campaign and acceptance of these products by customers is expected to drive the market. Developing nations in Asia Pacific are expected to witness the fastest growth during the forecast period. Growing patient pool, increased public awareness, and increasing affordability are the major drivers of the market in these geographies.
Some of the players in the smart cards in health care market are Atos SE, American Express Company, CardLogix Corporation, Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) GmbH, Gemalto NV, Infineon Technologies AG, INSIDE Secure SA, Oberthur Technologies SA, SCM Microsystems, and VeriFone Holdings, Inc.