Digital Health in Germany — 2018 and beyond
- By the end of 2018, all medical practices and hospitals are expected to be connected to the telematics infrastructure.
- Maybe the most exciting area for startups at the moment is telemedicine. Since April 2017 some medical specialists are allowed to conduct online consultations for certain indications. The primary goal is to support people with limited mobility. The National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV) and the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds (GKV) have determined the technical requirements, mainly for security and data protection. An extension of the range of services is proposed, but it’s uncertain if it will happen this year. More on telemedicine later.
- Also since 2017, patients taking three or more medications have the right to request a paperbased medication plan with the goal of avoiding dangerous drug interactions. In 2018, the medication data shall be collected in a standardised way that enables its storage on the electronic health insurance card. From 2019 on, all physicians and pharmacists must be able to update such an electronic medication plan.
- Health Insurance Data Management („VSDM“) and online data synchronization: medical practices are obliged to obtain the necessary technical equipment for an automatic online validation and update of the patient‘s health insurance data. This ensures up-to-date data and prevents benefit fraud.
- Since January 2018, emergency relevant medical information like pre-existing illnesses can be stored on the electronic health insurance card upon the patients request.
- Electronic Medical Record: from January 2019 on, the electronic health insurance card must be capable of gathering, processing and using data concerning medical findings, diagnoses and treatment measures. Furthermore, patients will gain the option to upload their own data (e.g. from wearables) and transfer it to physicians. By the end of 2018, all requirements for this shall be met.
- In June 2017, vesta, the directory for interoperability, was launched. It‘s now accepting requests for adopting new IT standards. In the future, new digital health applications can only achieve coverage by statutory health insurances, if they meet the interoperability requirements.