The world is becoming digital – internet of things, artificial intelligence, social networking, and the rapid rise of technology have fundamentally changed our private and professional life. But has the German healthcare system successfully found its way into the digital era yet?
The topic of health has never been as vital to Germans as it is today, and digital innovations offer a wide range of possibilities. Health apps, wearables, and special fitness trackers are part of our modern digital world. Founded in the 1880s, the German healthcare system – with its doctors, specialists, and facilities – is one of the best healthcare systems in the world.
According to surveys, many people would be willing to use digital applications in medical care and to provide their own data for this purpose. In the context of the healthcare reform legislation passed in 2003 (Gesundheitsreform 2003), changes with digital notations were incorporated into the German Social Code, Book V, on Statutory Health Insurance Modernization (SGB V – GKV-Modernisierungsgesetz or GMG) .Due to the Lipobay scandal the legislature decided to introduce the electronic health insurance card (elektronische Gesundheitskarte, eGK) . An electronic medication plan stored on the eGK was supposed to prevent harmful interactions of medications in the future. This application should be usable by mid 2019. In addition, the GMG established further digital applications for the eGK in the Social Code. These include the emergency data management (Notfalldatenmanagement), an electronic patient record (elektronische Patientenakte), the electronic doctor’s letter (E-Arztbrief), and the electronic patient compartment (elektronisches Patientenfach). In 2015 the E-Health Law implemented concrete deadlines and responsibilities for the introduction of these applications. And so far, the electronic physician’s letter has found its way into the digital everyday life of physicians. The radiological telekonsil, which is based on the E-Health Law, and the video consultation are of marginal importance and only apply if a doctor has already been in contact with the patient before. Continue reading