GERMANY , WAKE UP !
Healthcare players must adapt to the digital patient journey
We all see the digital health sector evolving quickly , with the digitalisation of the patient journey at its centre . It ’ s driven by new players entering the market to push innovation and challenge traditional stakeholders to react .
Moving to a data-driven care system will take the patient journey to the next level , where improved triaging , access and precision care are becoming a reality . However , today , the patient journey is often disjointed with no smooth transition between the individual phases . The good news is that patients themselves are the driving force behind the evolution of their journey , increasingly demanding more convenient and higher-quality services from medical care providers .
We ’ d like to shed light on the patient journey and its potential for optimisation – focusing on the German healthcare market . Why is Germany lagging behind ? What does the future hold and what are the consequences for the various players ?
Is the healthcare system finally evolving into a patient-centric system ?
An uncomfortable journey
Currently , within the different phases of the patient journey , communication between doctors and patients is poor . Patients are relying on a practitioner ’ s treatment recommendation provided during a brief , rushed in-person visit .
The possibility to switch from synchronous , analogue conversations with the doctor to asynchronous chats in a hybrid setting , with the option to provide remote support for the patient , is a game changer . Consequently , treatments will become more personalised and precise with data from wearables and bolstered by AI , diagnostic kits for home use and continuous support from healthcare providers .
Telemedicine support ( e . g . via teleclinic , kry , etc .) will simplify diagnoses , follow-up and treatment adherence ( e . g . Liva Healthcare ) and novel platforms are developing ecosystems for all patient concerns ( e . g .
Wellster Healthtech , gesund . de ), while VIMPROs ( Vertically Integrated Micro- Providers ) offer indication-specific , end-toend therapy . In short : a new era of diagnosis and care is developing , but has not yet been implemented .
Spot on : Germany
In 2019 , a Digital Health Care Act ( DVG ) was passed with the aim of improving the system through digital innovation . Since then , the German healthcare system has played a crucial role and acted as an internationally recognised pioneer in the field of digital therapeutics ( e . g . by introducing Digitale Gesundheitsanwendungen [ digital health applications ]). Furthermore , the DVG enhances the development of secure digital infrastructures and permissions for telemedical consultations .
Despite this new legislation , we have to say that Germany still lags behind North America and China in digitising the patient journey . From our perspective , this is due to three key circumstances that are different in the three countries :
PATIENT JOURNEY COMPARISON FOR CHRONIC TREATMENT
AWARENESS DIAGNOSIS TREATMENT ADHERENCE & MONITORING
CURRENT PATIENT JOURNEY
Not aware of treatment options
No remote support possible ; support only via infrequent in-person HCP * appointments
Difficult to find the right specialist , dependent on GP recommendation
In-person HCP * visits necessary during all stages of treatment
Further potential hurdles e . g . difficult to afford long-term treatment
A lack of interaction with HCP * hampers adherence to & continuation of treatment
Loss of motivation due to lack of support
HYBRID PATIENT JOURNEY Patients receive continuous support via asynchronous communication with HCP *
Digital patient ecosystems offer self-education & information
Initial consultation online
Referral to on-site specialist or urgent care clinic
Determination of appropriate treatment and home delivery of medication
Adjustment of treatment if needed
Digital adherence solutions e . g . digital coaches
Remote monitoring & continuous exchange with HCPs * and supporting functions
Source : goetzpartners research
* HCP = Healthcare professional