What is an HPKI card? Background of its introduction to physicians and pharmacists, and how to apply for it.

Good morning, HPKI card article.


With the shift to ICT in the medical field, “HPKI cards,” which electronically certify qualifications held, are becoming increasingly popular. Let’s deepen our understanding of the background and functions of the introduction of HPKI cards, which may be necessary for many medical and welfare professionals in the future, including doctors and pharmacists.

What is an HPKI card?
An HPKI card is a physical card used to certify official qualifications in the medical and welfare field. HPKI stands for “Healthcare Public Key Infrastructure,” which in Japanese translates to “public key infrastructure in the field of health and welfare.

The target qualifications include 27 national qualifications and 5 administrator qualifications. In order to support ICT in the medical field, such as electronic prescriptions and online qualification verification, the introduction of HPKI has started with the qualifications of physicians, dentists, and pharmacists.

2. Background of HPKI card introduction
The introduction of the HPKI card was first proposed in 2004 in the final report compiled by the Study Group on Medical Information Network Infrastructure established by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. At the time, the Personal Information Protection Law (fully enforced in 2005) and the Electronic Signature Law (enforced in 2001) were enacted, and the safe handling of medical information was beginning to be required. In the report, it was explained that the promotion of IT in the medical and welfare fields in the future would be essential, and that a public key infrastructure with a function to confirm official qualifications in the signature itself was necessary.

In response, the introduction of HPKI cards has been gradually promoted along with the development of HPKI certification authority operation rules and the establishment of an expert committee. The further promotion of the use of HPKI cards has been accelerated by the lifting of the ban on electronic prescriptions in January 2023 and the acceleration of IT in the medical field, including online qualification confirmation at insured medical institutions and insured pharmacies, which became mandatory in principle in April of the same year.

3. What the HPKI card can do
With the HPKI card, you can do the following

Verification of eligibility for employment at medical institutions, etc.
Confirmation of eligibility at the time of dispatching a medical team in a disaster, etc.
HPKI electronic signature (electronic prescriptions, medical document storage, medical document exchange)
Course registration (attendance management system)
Workshop attendance history and credit management
Login authentication (regional medical cooperation, login authentication to IT systems)



ACS’s IC card reader ACR1255 has been confirmed to work with HPKI cards by the Electronic Authentication Center of the Japan Medical Association.

See below.

When using the physician credentials with a PC, be sure to install* this driver software.
Also, please refer to the “HPKI Card Driver Installation Manual” when installing the software. (In preparation)

* Please prepare an IC card reader in advance.
Currently, the following IC card readers have been confirmed to work.
For details on how to connect individual IC card readers, please contact the respective manufacturers.

Manufacturer Product name Contact/non-contact
SONY RC-S300/S1 (for business use)*
*Not available for personal models Contactless
NTT Communications uTrust4701F Contact
NTT Communications uTrust4701F Contactless
NTT Communications SCR3310V2.0 Contact
Identiv CLOUD/uTrust 2700R Contact
Identiv CLOUD3701F Contactless
I-O Data Device USB-NFC4 Contactless
I-O Data Device USB-ICCRW Contact
Advanced Card Systems Japan ACR1255 Contactless
Sanwa Supply ADR-MNICUBK Contactless
As of July 2023

Click here for more information about HPKI card models that have been tested for operation.


Click here to purchase ACS ACR1255U-J1 mobile card reader on Amazon.


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