On December 10, 2008, the German Federal Social Court (Bundessozialgericht: Az.: B 6 KA 37/07 R) issued a ground-breaking decision in the health insurance sector. The Court ruled on the scope of protection of patient data in the context of statutory health insurance. It concluded that hospitals or contract doctors are not allowed to transfer patient data to private service providers for invoicing purposes. According to the Court, this also applies when patients have signed consent declarations. The press release (in German) is available here.