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Our colleague presents a research of German hospitals' digitalization plans

Published November 11, 2021

According to a comprehensive research work done by Denis Appelganz from WaveAccess at  Osnabrück University, Germany, German hospitals are eager to increase the quality of their services through digitization.

 German hospitals are eager to increase the quality of their services through digitization

The German Hospital Future Act is slated to provide hospitals with the prospect of financial aid for the expansion of digitization totaling 4.3 billion euros. Our colleague surveyed 157 hospitals from all regions of Germany of various sizes, and more than 98 percent of them already have submitted or plan to submit at least one application.

The survey confirmed the expectations, namely that hospitals were very interested in participating in the tendering process for the German Hospital Future Act. There are some surрrising findings as well. For examрle, Germany seems to have little interest in decision support systems, which contradicts the international trend, especially in view of the potential of artificial intelligence and big data forecasting algorithms. 

What are the main takeaways of the research? 

  • Digitization should create additional value. The far-reaching increase in quality takes first place and is a must. The operational improvement of the current state of digitization came in second place in priority. New and advancing technology takes the third place. Increasing efficiency fell into the fourth place slot.

  • The focal points for the improvements are documentation and management. The favorites included digital care and treatment documentation (95.5%), patient portals (79.9%), digital medication management (73.4%) and IT security (56.5%).

  • Admission and discharge  management of patients as well as medication management are or also slated to be improved. Considering the number of applicants and the need for fulfillment of certain mandatory criteria it is clear that there will be funding issues. At this time only a few mandatory criteria have been fulfilled. Many hospitals have submitted an application in hopes of taking a new Leap Forward.  This intern, applies to patient portals in which admission, discharge and transfer management as well as  medication management are to be supported digitally.  

  • There are other funding factors to consider, in particular digital care and treatment documentation, for which many (73%) of the hospitals making the application already meet at least half of the mandatory criteria. Most applications (95.5%) are made in this area. 

  • There are specific funded topics in which the hospitals tend not to meet the mandatory criteria. This is true for decision support systems, for which only 44.2% of hospitals want to apply. 

  • Some hosрitals are рreрared and some are not. The percentages for the conditions for funding that are currently met are as follows: care record system for beds (87.5%), adaptation of patient rooms (85.7%), IT security (71, 4%), digital performance requirement (65.2%), telemedical procedures (60.5%), emergency room (58.3%), digital care and treatment documentation (57.9%), digital medication management (50.5%) and coordination of several hospitals (50.0%). Bear in mind that all or most of these criteria must be met for funding to be granted.

The Computer Science in Healthcare research group at the Osnabrück University is a scientific institution that has been dealing with the field of digitization, maturity and quality of health IT and IT-supported care for more than 20 years. The research of Denis Aррelganz from WaveAccess was conducted as a рart of his ongoing research at this respected institution.

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