Digital healthcare

Just What the Doctor Ordered

health
I recommend you just turn it off and back on again.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Germany is in danger of missing out on a slice of an industry that is expected to be worth €215.5 billion ($233 billion) by 2020.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Germany spends the equivalent of 11.3 percent of GDP on health, one of the highest figures in the world.
    • Only 24 percent of German general practitioners exchange data electronically, compared to an E.U. average of 36 percent.
    • Just 3.1 percent of German startups are working in the fields of bio, nano or medical technology.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

Johannes Jacubeit was a popular man at this year’s Cebit computer fair in Hanover, Germany. Dressed in a white coat, the founder of Connect Health, an electronic medical data firm, was seeking funding for his startup.

The 32-year-old has developed a device that he says can help make diagnoses faster and more precise. Consisting of an app and small Hub box, the software records a patient’s data and delivers it via telephone lines to a doctor’s computer system. Data from other healthcare and fitness tracking apps, such as Apple’s health app, also can be sent.

“Until now, the exchange of data between physician and patient was based on paper and CDs,” he said, noting doctors typically spend just six to eight minutes with each patient during an office visit. Receiving a quick patient overview would be enormously helpful to both physician and patient.

Mr. Jacubeit attracted considerable attention from journalists at Cebit. E-health has been a buzzword for years, but until recently, there has been a striking lack of apps, especially for patients. According to a 2014 survey by the German Startup Association, just 3.1 percent of the estimated 880 startups questioned were working in the fields of bio, nano or medical technology.

Digitalization of healthcare in Germany is behind the rest of Europe. The European Commission’s 2015 Digital Economy and Society Index found that only 24 percent of German general practitioners exchange data electronically, well below the E.U. average of 36 percent. Only 15 percent of German doctors send prescriptions to pharmacies over the Internet. The E.U. average is 27 percent.

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