Health: Lauterbach wants to promote digital patient records

Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach wants to increase the acceptance of digital patient files with a nationwide information campaign.

Health: Lauterbach wants to promote digital patient records

Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach wants to increase the acceptance of digital patient files with a nationwide information campaign. "Doctors and insurance companies will inform and advise patients. And when the electronic patient file starts for everyone, we will do a nationwide information campaign," said the SPD politician to the newspapers of the Funke media group. Data protection rules would be designed in such a way "that they are practicable for patients and doctors in everyday life".

Lauterbach cited the targeted selection of doctors as an example: "If, as a patient, I don't want my dentist to see which psychotherapist is treating me because of a severe psychosis, I must be able to deny the dentist access to this data."

The electronic patient files were launched in 2021 as a voluntary offer. It is about personal data storage for reports, X-rays and lists of medication taken, for example. In principle, this e-file should accompany patients throughout their lives and with all doctors. This should improve care, since examinations are often repeated unnecessarily if previous examination results are not known.

So far, only very few of the 74 million people with statutory health insurance have a digital patient file. Lauterbach wants to increase this. The SPD, Greens and FDP agreed in the coalition agreement to switch to the "opt-out" principle. That means: By the end of 2024, everyone should automatically receive an e-file without the previously necessary application - those who don't want one would then have to object.

Lauterbach gave further details on the planned regulations in the Funke newspapers: According to this, doctors should be rewarded for digitizing important previous findings at the start of the new electronic patient file. The health insurance companies should also only have access to the billing data, but no access to the medical data in the electronic patient file.

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