In order to expand the digitization of the German healthcare system, a new Digital care act known as Digitale-Versorgung-Gesetz is going to be introduced.
Since 2016, after the establishment of the ‘E-Health Act’, Germany has been pursuing the path of digitization. The main goal of the ‘E-Health Act’ was to establish information & communication tech in healthcare & the new Digital Care Act has been introduced to build upon this.
The E-Health Act has its focus in particular on the development of the ‘electronic health card’ & the corresponding ‘electronic patient file’ for statutory health-insured people for protecting the data stored in such files against unauthorized use, the creation of a safe ‘telematics infrastructure’, the development of the interoperability of healthcare IT systems, & the provision of telemedical services.
Not only permission will be given to medics for prescribing traditional medicines & treatment procedures to their patients, but also to recommend health applications. Such health apps might, for instance, remind chronically ill patients of taking their medicine regularly or offer a diary function where users could note their daily well-being.
In the nearby future, German statutory health insurances funds have to reimburse the expenses of health apps under certain conditions.
In the beginning, the health applications would be tested for the data protection, data security, and functionality by the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices. After the fruitful test & launch, statutory health insurances will be reimbursing the costs conditionally for one year. During this duration, the manufacturer of the health application must prove to the German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices that its health app improves patient care. The reimbursement amount will be negotiated with the German Association of Health Insurance Funds.
The new Digital Care Act is also aimed at expanding the ‘telematics infrastructure’ within the health sector.