Intel SGX Protects German Electronic Patient Records

Intel Software Guard Extensions is government-verified technology to help secure sensitive patient and health information in Germany.




What’s New: Starting this year, Germans who are registered for public healthcare insurance can request an electronic patient record from their insurance company. This file digitally stores all medical records as well as information on diagnoses, examinations, test results and treatments. The German government has verified Intel® Software Guard Extensions (Intel® SGX) to comply with rigorous regulations regarding storage and processing of this highly sensitive data.

“Intel collaborates with partners within pharma, bio sciences and politics to improve public healthcare on a global scale. It is our aim to use the full potential of data while ensuring their highest protection. We are convinced that high computing power and the latest technical developments are the key to facilitate different aspects of our daily lives — and through this, expand medical care and accelerate the treatment of diseases.”

–Hannes Schwaderer, country manager, Intel Deutschland GmbH

Why It Matters: Germany has an extensive healthcare system designed to give all residents access to comprehensive medical care. Every German citizen is required to have public or private health insurance, and they are allowed to choose from different providers. At the same time, the country also has one of the most wide-ranging set of laws and compliance regulations when it comes to collecting and processing personal data.

The German government has defined strict rules to protect it digital medical records, which contain highly sensitive information, such as diagnoses, test results and therapy suggestions. Every provider must ensure data protection within the records, such as data encryption through protocols and during transmission. Confidential computing enables protection by processing encrypted data in memory without exposing it to the rest of the system. This is done by utilizing Intel SGX, a functionality of Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors.

How It Works: Intel SGX is a set of instructions used to define protected private memory areas, called enclaves or trusted execution environments, to increase the security of application code and data. The transmitted information is encrypted and decoded once inside the enclave, improving application integrity and helping to ensure data privacy. Through this code and memory are better protected from unauthorized use and manipulation.

What’s Next: While the first edition of Germany’s electronic patient record built on Intel SGX allows patients to make health data and documents accessible to different medical professionals, the next update will offer even more. With Intel’s 3rd Gen Intel® Xeon® Scalable platform, the enclave size will increase from 256 megabytes to 1 terabyte, allowing for bigger datasets, such as clinical images, X-rays and electrocardiograms, to be processed. Additionally, documents like vaccination certificates, maternity records, children’s examination records and dental bonus passes will be digitized. An e-prescriptions system will also be introduced into the solution. The expanded availability of prescribed medication, treatment records and results will facilitate significant collaboration among medical personnel.

More Context: 3rd Gen Intel Xeon Scalable Launch Press Kit | Intel Launches Its Most Advanced Performance Data Center Platform