Pressing ahead with the digitalisation of the outpatient sector!
Jens Naumann, Chief Executive medatixx in DMEA-Goldpartner Interview
A specialist for software solutions in medical practices and medical care centres (MCC), medatixx is using the DMEA to focus on telematics infrastructures, including an eye-catching implementation of the electronic prescription. Sustainability and CO2 neutrality are also on the agenda. The chief executive of medatixx, Jens Naumann, would like to see the new government adopt policies offering more support for the outpatient sector.
Concerning the digitalisation of outpatient medical services, and due to the impetus given to digitalisation by the previous health minister Jens Spahn, the telematics infrastructure (TI) and its applications are subjects that have been adopted by almost all medical facilities. Is this also reflected by medatixx in its presentation at DMEA?
Absolutely. We are featuring a whole range of TI applications of enormous interest to users, and which now have, or will very shortly have a major role to play in the everyday work of medical practices and medical care centres. One of the highlights at DMEA involves ePrescriptions, an area where we have achieved easy-to-use inclusion in the practice workflow. Also included are signature functions, such as convenience signatures and batch signatures, to which we have made further improvements in recent months, and which have aroused a great deal of interest among our customers.
Is there not actually a great deal of uncertainty at present? At a political level at least there have been numerous complaints.
I think it is time to take a more objective look at discussions about telematics applications such as ePrescriptions or the electronic sick note. The DMEA will, I am sure, contribute to this. In the final analysis everyone welcomes the replacement of the paper sick note, the introduction at last of the electronic doctor’s letter, and the ability of patients to enjoy the greater convenience offered by electronic prescriptions, something that has been under discussion for more than a decade. With regard to the medical profession I can only say: for many of the applications the influence on everyday work is easily understandable. Consider the work of preparing prescriptions: if the electronic prescription is implemented in a reasonable way there is hardly any difference to the workflow in a medical practice. Transmitting an electronic doctor’s note is, after all, less complicated and above all much quicker than using paper.
So is all the required equipment already available in practices?
A great deal of progress has been achieved in recent months. As far as the KIM (Communication in Healthcare) service is concerned, which is required for the electronic doctor’s note and electronic sick note, I can state that the relevant contracts have already been signed by around 95 per cent of our customers. More of these systems are being installed every day. The electronic IDs for medical practitioners, which are required for such systems as the ePrescription and electronic doctor’s note, are now available and ready for use in most practices. As with all digital introductory processes, a certain routine must now be adopted. I will now go out on a limb and state that, by the end of the year, the three digital applications I have referred to will be in standard use in the majority of practices.
Will the increasing use of digital applications also lead to an altered awareness of IT security in medical practices? Some catching up needs to be done in many areas.
It is apparent that people are increasingly asking what form could and should be adopted by medical facilities in their efforts to increase medical security. In any case greater numbers of doctors are seeking advice, and we are now being asked more frequently to provide support. Organisational and technical IT security measures have been taken seriously by hospitals and many medical care centres too, and there is a good reason for this. This also applies now on a wider scale to medical practices. At medatixx we recognise the high demand that exists for advanced training and can offer the appropriate consulting services at our medatixx academy as well as at our various branches. As defined by § 75b SGB V, the IT security guidelines of the KBV, the association representing medical practices in the German health insurance scheme, can serve as a suitable roadmap for greater IT security in practices.
On the whole are you also aware of a greater acceptance of IT by doctors in the outpatient sector? Or is this still more of an enforced compliance with statutory regulations?
A basic willingness to accept digitalisation is now also evident from the widespread interest being shown in unsolicited, additional solutions for all aspects of IT for practices. Our x.archiv software for archiving images and documents is enjoying increased popularity. We are also seeing a constant increase in the installation of x.webtermin, a solution for the online management of appointments. In common with other suppliers we have experienced a brief downturn in our video appointments system x.onvid, following its sharp expansion during the pandemic. However, here too growth has resumed. The fundamental political problem remains the lack of financial incentives for the wide-ranging and rapid digitalisation of the everyday work of practices. This is something that we definitely intend to discuss at DMEA. In our opinion there is a need for a law on the future of practices, along the lines of the law on the future of hospitals. In the outpatient sector too we envisage a model of the degree of maturity for a standardised evaluation of the level of digitalisation in a practice or a medical care centre. For example, this degree of maturity could be linked with certain quarterly bonus payments, to encourage practices to adopt digitalised systems.
What else can we expect in the future?
Without doubt, Version 2.0 of the electronic patient file will be of major future importance in the field of practice IT. We are open for discussions in this area too at DMEA. From our viewpoint clarification is still needed about various aspects, and consequently we will not be displaying any relevant products at DMEA. A completely different topic, but one that is attracting growing attention, is that of sustainability, and especially green IT. During DMEA we will be taking part in a panel discussion on this subject. We are now starting to receive the first enquiries from customers about CO2 neutrality, an area where we will be getting much more involved in the years to come. I believe that the ecological footprint of outpatient care will become an important subject. As an IT producer we want to make our own contribution to keeping this footprint as small as possible.