Barcodes are very versatile and can be used flexibly. In Hesse, the State Medical Association is taking the path of documenting continuing education via barcodes. Read below how barcodes have simplified, accelerated and digitalised the proof of continuing education.

The uniform continuing education number (EFN) is used to enable doctors to document the continuing education points they have earned. The background to this is that all doctors must undergo further training. This is documented in the medical professional code (e.g. in Hesse). In addition, medical specialists in private practice and in hospitals are obliged to undergo further training. One has to prove 250 continuing education points within 5 years to keep one's accredited status.

As a rule, all new members receive one or more A4 sheets with barcode stickers from the medical association. In many (medical) associations you also get a medical card in cheque card form, on the back of which you will also find the EFN. You will not find this barcode on the blue (old) paper card. The barcodes used make it possible to clearly assign the barcode to the corresponding member. The EFN is issued to the doctor for life and is retained even if there is a change between medical associations.

The process is kept very simple as one simply brings such an EFN barcode label when attending an event. The organiser scans the barcode and reports the attendance to the Medical Association using the Electronic Information Distributor (EIV). For security, a signature must also be made on the list of participants to ensure that the participant was also there in person.

This means that the data is centrally available electronically and all doctors can view the respective score at any time. The EFN consists of 15 digits and allows a clear identification of the doctor.

In the meantime, the barcode has also become more widespread and is used for other services as a unique identification of the doctor. It can be used to register with the Diagnosia app (e.g. to check drug interactions), the FobiApp (the continuing education app of German medical associations) or the various portals of the medical associations.

The barcode labels can be ordered via the member portal of the State Medical Association or from the responsible district medical association by telephone or in writing.

The first two digits of the EFN indicate the professional group (for doctors, "80"). The next three digits (numbers 3-5) represent the country code according to ISO 3166. The next 3 digits (numbers 6-8) are the identifier of the institution that initially recognised the doctor. This is followed by a 5-digit sequential number which identifies the doctor (digits 9-14). The number 15 is a check digit based on the Luhn formula.

This is just one of the many uses of barcodes, but the effect remains the same. It creates a quick, everyday solution that speeds up the process and saves time and paper.

 

For more information on EFN barcodes, click here:

https://www.laekh.de/fuer-aerztinnen-und-aerzte/fort-und-weiterbildung/fortbildung/zertifizierung-von-fortbildungsveranstaltungen

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuing_Medical_Education#Nachweis_der_Fortbildung