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Digital Maturity Assessments: Taking Germany on the World Stage

University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) is the first fully numbered hospital in Europe. By introducing a closed-loop process, the UKE lowered the rate of deviation in drug administration from 21.5% to 0.7%.[1]. Cambridge University Hospital I mentioned a similar story: Automated warning systems prevented 850 cases of severe allergy side effects each year. Sixteen percent of prescriptions were modified as a result.

In both cases, hospitals have been guided by the HIMSS EMRAM digital maturity model roadmap. HIMSS, owner Healthcare Information Technology NewsThey evaluated more than 550 hospitals in Germany as well as 65,000 health facilities worldwide. These organizations now use a common understanding of digital maturity to share best practices in digital operations, user engagement, and patient care. Germany is likely to be in a beneficial position to capitalize on what they have learned and apply some of the strategies and concepts from large-scale projects in Europe, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Australia, or the United States of America.

In my opinion, the first thing to consider is the scope of the evaluation itself. It should live up to the highest scientific requirements, yet at the same time provide a pragmatic and balanced approach to application in hospitals. In other words, a maturity model should not only serve the aspirations of “digital leaders” but also allow for practical and outcome-oriented use in the heterogeneous and less digitized hospital landscape. This includes providing a roadmap that enables hospitals to identify business areas that increase their digital maturity and that are in line with international best practices.

The evaluation and evaluation of hospitals and other healthcare facilities should look beyond the technical availability of systems to help understand the specific improvements of the healthcare workforce, process efficiency and quality of care. This will lead to a real transformation – and reform – of the sector and new opportunities for the country.

Innovation can drive Europe’s recovery

The German digital maturity project goes hand in hand with the country opening its national health system to innovations from near and far. Four billion euros will be invested over the next three years in hospital digitization by the federal government alone. International standards are adopted to support interoperability. The new “Fast Track” approval process allows startups to easily comply with evidence requirements for their products. Moreover, in a first-of-its-kind move, the legal system German health insurers will pay for digital health apps Its members have 72,000,000 insured persons.

Historically, Germany has been slow to digitize healthcare. Stakeholder conflicts of interest, privacy concerns, and decentralized structures of the system were seen as barriers that had to be overcome first. However, with the federal government launching the nation’s first digital health strategy literally weeks before a pandemic strikes, the nation has made tremendous progress toward adopting, and even embracing, digital health.

Insight into the digital maturity of its hospitals could now lead to further progress if followed by an expanded digital transformation that transcends the inpatient sector and transcends national boundaries. This will bridge the technology gap for digital leaders in Denmark, the Netherlands, Estonia or Finland. With the continent’s largest economy playing a more productive and proactive role in shaping the future of health, Europe as a whole can increase its efforts to overcome the burden of a pandemic that has changed the minds and lives of so many.

Armin Schwer is Vice President of International Business Development at HIMSS.


[1] Baehr M, van der Linde A, King R, Melzer S, Langebrake C, Groth Tonberge C, Hug MJ. The coupling of electronic regulation and patient-oriented logistics – a significant improvement in the safety of drug therapy. KHP 35: 110-117 (2014). “Rate of deviation” refers to the deviation from quality standards specified in drug administration, such as single dose, daily dose, dosage form, moisture protection, and shelf life.

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Written by Joseph

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