General practitioners want their own supply platform for medical services

As a counterpoint to seemingly monopolistic providers who dominate the healthcare system, the General Practitioners Association wants to develop its own healthcare platform.

The executive board of the German Association of General Practitioners and the AG Digitales are currently working on a digital supply platform for doctors and patients. By the time of the next delegates’ meeting of the association, the latter is to work out “how a digital care platform for general practitioner care could be designed, what added value it would provide for care and what operating models are conceivable for such a platform”. This is based on the idea of ​​designing a platform with which different offers and medical services are “centrally accessible”.

 

One of the applicants – Dr. Kristina Spöhrer from the state board of the general practitioners’ association of Lower Saxony – according to the medical newspaper, a counterpoint to providers who “exclusive monopoly-like platform structures […] create in order to play a dominant role in the German healthcare system. […] With a digital patient platform for general practitioner care, the General Practitioners‘ Association would take a fundamental step forward in the field of e-health”.

With the help of their own platform, the general practitioners want to enable “care-relevant data” – for example on the reason for the doctor’s visit – between doctors and patients, but also with other people involved in the healthcare system. Patients should also receive relevant information about their treatment. The electronic doctor network (eAV), which started in July 2019 and was launched as an alternative to standard care as part of family doctor-centered care (HZV), shows that family doctors in Baden-Württemberg are already familiar with digitization options, for example the electronic certificate of incapacity for work (eAU) is sent within the eAV since its inception.

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The association is also dissatisfied with the fact that the “information flows and supply processes behind the electronic patient record (ePA) are little or not at all” coordinated with everyday practice. A further application calls for “drawing up a key issues paper on the use of the ePA in everyday general practitioner care and introducing this into the corresponding discussions on the BMG’s digitization strategy”.

In yet another application, the legislature is asked to “define and implement legal and technical ways in which patients can be integrated into the digital infrastructure of TI”. Since patients are currently still excluded from the health network – the telematics infrastructure – supply processes “cannot be fully or only insufficiently digitized”. After all, the patients are “decision-makers or transmitters” of their information. Both the eAU and the e-prescription are currently at most “partially digitized processes” since the patients still receive a printout.

In addition, the delegates are calling on the legislature and other responsible parties – including the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, the Central Association of Health Insurance Funds, the Joint Federal Committee and the German “health agency”, Gematik – to ensure that the hardware required for the telematics infrastructure is still fully functional upon delivery has term. After five years, the crypto certificates in the particularly secure hardware routers – the connectors – expire, after which they should be exchanged according to Gematik. Time and again, devices are installed in dermatologists’ practices, the service life of which often ends prematurely. In this context, leasing offers for the connectors are also required.

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Furthermore, the General Practitioners’ Association demands that the financial or time expenditure involved in replacing the connector be compensated. The association demands a safe solution that can be carried out in the doctor’s office. The costs of the project should also be as low as possible “so that the health insurance companies can invest their funds in (GP) care instead of in financing the TI”.

In addition, “digital helpers” – since the market is confusing – should ensure that structures and processes in the practices are “effective and efficient”. In another point, an extension of the telephone sick leave until “at least” the end of March 2023 is required.