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Will Germany finally catch up in digitising its healthcare system?

Key points of the new digitalisation strategy for the healthcare sector in Germany

In March this year, The German Federal Ministry of Health has published its digital strategy for the country’s healthcare system.

It puts forward very ambitious goals for using digital tools and services in patient care and the application of healthcare data for research & development. The strategy particularly focuses on the broader use of Electronic Patient Records (EPRs) on an opt-out-basis, an increased deployment of telemedicine, the implementation of electronic prescriptions and an extended use of health apps.

So far so good – this is what you should expect from a digital healthcare strategy.

However, the Ministry goes one step further.

The strategy demands to move away from the traditional and often criticized care silos to integrated and networked care structures and processes with the patient at the very centre.

This will require healthcare providers, payers and industry to closely work together and exchange data in a structured and standardized manner.

Working with digitally supported and integrated care pathways is something that is still largely unknown to the German healthcare system.

What does it mean for healthcare stakeholders in Germany?

On top of requirements to adapt care processes or reviewing co-operation and partnership models, the biggest challenge for healthcare stakeholders will be how to properly engage with patients. Future care is supposed to be built around patients, quality of individual care and outcomes. Patient centricity will not anymore be a simple buzzword often used as an alibi. Engaging with patients in a meaningful, continuous and trustful way rendering robust outcomes and evidence is going to be the new normal.

Will it all come true?

The German healthcare system is an inert and hard to move colossus.

The different interest groups that make it up have done a good job in the past when it comes to preventing innovation and transformation.

How the different objectives of the new digital strategy will be implemented still needs more definition.

For the moment, the Ministry seems to be dedicated to drive the change. Even if at the end of the day, not each and every objective will be realized at once, it is more than likely that change will come. Hence, it is advisable that stakeholders should start preparing themselves.

We summarized the key points of Germany’s digital health strategy in the enclosed overview. Please feel free to read through and come back to us with questions or comments.

Digital Strategy Healthcare Germany_v1.0
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