• 1 March 2023



More money for the digitisation of health offices, testing of medical care through digitisation: From now on, things are to move faster with digital innovations and developments in the health sector.

Digitalisation in the health sector has been talked and written about for years. But what does this buzzword actually mean? According to the consulting firm EY: "The electronic medical record, the measurement of health data via app, the communication between doctors and hospital via a platform, the video consultation - these are just a few examples of digital technologies that are currently turning the German healthcare industry upside down. The basis of digitalisation is the medical data of the insured person, which is exchanged between doctors and patients, but also between the individual service providers, by means of modern information and communication technologies. Digitisation creates new diagnostic and treatment options such as personalised medicine, it facilitates communication between the individual players in the healthcare system and enables individual patients to take greater control of their health, for example through apps and information on the internet."

Systematic evaluation of medical data

The Federal Ministry of Health is sounding the same horn: "Digitalisation has already greatly changed many areas of social life and the economy. It also offers great opportunities for healthcare: not only for faster communication and more efficient administrative processes, for the abolition of fax messages and paper forms, but also for the provision of patient data whenever and wherever it is needed, as a prerequisite for good and effective treatment. The systematic evaluation of medical data also improves the detection of diseases, enables individually targeted therapies and opens up new healing opportunities. The use of mobile applications holds new opportunities for a self-determined role of patients in the treatment process and for strengthening health literacy."

Focus on digitisation of the public health system

In the federal budget for 2023, with 22 billion euros, significantly less money is earmarked for the Federal Ministry of Health than in 2022 with more than 64 billion euros. But Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner shows himself to be more generous with digital projects than Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach. "For example, Lindner approves more money for the digitalisation of the health offices than originally planned by Lauterbach. Whereas the health minister planned only 50 million euros for the digitisation of the public health system in the coming year in his draft budget presented in March, 157 million euros are earmarked for 2023 in the draft of the Federal Ministry of Finance." This is reported by "Handelsblatt Digital Health". It goes on to say: "Significantly more money is also planned for the Demis reporting software of the health offices. While Lauterbach's draft budget still calculated 1.6 million euros in the coming year, according to Lindner's plan it is now a proud ten million euros for 2023."

According to the medium, Maximilian Funke-Kaiser, rapporteur for digital health of the FDP parliamentary group, is satisfied with the planned expenditures. "With the 2023 budget, we have been able to set another essential course for the urgently needed digitisation of the healthcare system," he tells Handelsblatt Inside. "We are creating planning security for all those involved so that the structural processes can be tackled in a forced manner."

In Germany, many digital applications have only been introduced on paper

All of this is also urgently needed. Because a study by the Scientific Institute (WIP) of the private health insurers (PKV), reported in "Handelsblatt Inside Digital Health", also showed that Germany cannot exactly be called a pioneer in the digitalisation of the health system. It compares the German digital health system with that of six other countries - with unpleasant results. The evaluation shows that many digital applications have been introduced in Germany on paper, but in practice there are still problems. In addition to Germany, the authors of the study analysed the neighbouring countries Austria, Switzerland, Denmark and Poland. Estonia was included as a country with an exemplary e-health structure, Australia is represented as a non-European country.

This text may contain translation errors as the translation was done by an online translation tool.