The German healthcare system is one step closer to the introduction of electronic patient files – and the myriad benefits they will offer.
In October, negotiations between the Federal Ministry of Health, health insurance providers and physicians’ representatives led to an agreement on a basic concept as well as a memorandum of understanding regarding common digital standards. According to the government’s timetable, electronic patient files should be available to all persons in Germany covered by statutory health insurance by 2021 at the latest.
The basic technical architecture and interfaces will be defined by Gematik, the society for the development of a health data network. The community of medical professionals will determine the formats used for storing medical data, such as X-rays. A special compartment for items such as fitness data will also be reserved for the patient, who will have “data sovereignty,” meaning only he or she will choose who has access to which information.