The Federal Data Protection Commissioner demanded corrections to the Patient Data Protection Act on Wednesday. Bitkom CEO Dr. Bernhard Rohleder explains:
"Germany is years and sometimes decades behind many other countries in the use of digital technologies in healthcare. The introduction of the electronic patient file is long overdue: it not only improves medical care for people, it also relieves doctors, hospitals and the entire healthcare system. Its announced launch in January 2021 must not be jeopardized. We cannot afford further delays. It is important that all those involved and the health insurance companies find a solution as quickly as possible that will allow the electronic patient file to be introduced on January 1, 2021, while meeting the legal requirements.
The electronic patient file is at the heart of the digitalization of the healthcare system. It gives the insured fast access to their medical data, diagnoses or vaccination record. This makes them more confident and responsible. According to a recent Bitkom study, 73 percent of people in Germany would use the electronic patient file. The Patient Data Protection Act takes us a big step forward in digital healthcare in Germany - at the same time, the health data of those with statutory health insurance in Germany is protected exceptionally well compared to other countries. Above all, the informational self-determination rights of the insured are preserved: The use of the electronic patient file is voluntary and the data sovereignty lies with the patient himself. From 2022 onwards, differentiated rights management will be possible, with each insured person having access to precisely which doctor can view which data.
Data is the basis for high-performance medical care tailored to the individual situation of each patient. If we in Germany do not manage to balance data protection with patient well-being, German patients will in future obtain medical services from countries that are better able to achieve this balance. Data protection must serve the well-being of patients and must not become a brake on the digitization of the German healthcare system.