Further enhancement of electronic patient files
After a prolonged disruption, the healthcare system is set to become more digital. An electronic file for mobile phones was launched a year ago. Will it get faster with some innovations in 2022?
X-rays, medical reports and medication lists: For a year now, insured people have been able to have digital health data at hand – in electronic patient files (EPR), which can be recalled on smartphones. They should get more jobs in 2022.
Consumer advocates and health insurance companies are counting on more digital enhancement. This is also the goal of the new federal government’s plans SPD, FDP and Greens. According to the coalition agreement, the principle of “opt out” should apply to voluntary use of electronic files in the future – that is, you must actively object if you do not wish to use them.
President Health insurance for techniciansJens Bass told dpa: “In order to increase admission, it is the right step for every insured person to automatically receive the file at birth and in order to form a lifelong health history. If you don’t want to, you can object at any time.” The current “opt-in” principle unnecessarily puts users in the way through a multi-stage approval process. “But then it’s important for doctors to fill out the files,” Bass said. A prerequisite for this is that all clinics and clinics are technically capable of doing this.
However, there are still delays in networking at the level of the striatal region of EPR due to lack of equipment in some cases. Practices need updates to a protected data highway connection (connector) device in the health sector, the federal ministry explains. According to the manufacturer, it has now happened “in a big way”. As for the necessary updates to the practice management systems, however, some manufacturers “did not complete development in a timely manner”.
The electronic dossier started as a voluntary offer for 73 million people with statutory health insurance with a testing phase on January 1, 2021. “There is still much room for improvement in the previous user numbers”, said the head of the Federation of German Consumer Organizations (vzbv), Klaus Mullerd b a. Thus many applications can be launched more efficiently, for the benefit of patients, but also for the benefit of the healthcare system – for example, medicines that are compatible with each other. The principle of “withdrawal” planned by the SPD, the Greens and the Freedom and Justice Party is OK in this group, where there is the possibility of subjective decisions.
At Techniker Krankenkasse, 230,000 insured people are using electronic files one year after starting, the company announced. It is used most frequently among people between the ages of 26 and 35, at 28 percent. Especially popular are reminders of preventive medical exams or downloading existing data on immunizations, prescribed medications and doctor visits, so don’t start with a blank file.
Consumer advocate Mueller has generally emphasized that patients should remain masters of their data. In addition, the system must be secure. “It’s not anyone’s business to have allergies, any medical history I have.” It is important to be able to decide which data should be made available to any physician. From the new year onwards, patients should be able to determine this in a more accurate form for each individual document. Privacy advocates have warned about this.
“Patient benefit has to finally come to the fore,” Mueller said. For this purpose, new EPA jobs will come in 2022: maternity card, yellow baby screening booklet, dental bonus booklet, and vaccination certificate. The ministry clarified that the second planned expansion phase of the application should start from January 1. For this, too, practices must meet technical requirements.
vzbv president Müller said the previous introduction was not a celebrity paper, and many contributed to it. “It is the resistance from the medical profession that the profession must consider self-critical.” There is frustration among clinicians after former minister Jens Spahn (CDU) enforced several digital apps after years of turmoil. Chief Medical Officer Klaus Reinhardt recently complained about frequent malfunctions and sometimes a lack of technology and demanded: “Stay away from hasty digitization.” For now, you should focus on testing applications at scale for practicality and actual utility benefits.