High hopes for digitalization: AI and ePA in the German healthcare system

Expert Views

Eric Thomas

In the age of digitalization, healthcare is also undergoing drastic changes – from the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) to electronic patient records (ePA). A recent survey by Bitkom provides revealing insights into the attitudes and expectations of the German population regarding these developments.


Artificial Intelligence: A huge opportunity

According to the survey, 81 percent of Germans have high hopes for the use of AI in medicine. The majority believe that AI should assist doctors as often as possible. 35 percent of respondents even see the potential for AI-assisted robo-doctors to replace doctors. However, these developments also raise concerns, with some 23 percent of people worried about the use of AI in medicine.


Electronic health records: Information needs and privacy

Another important component of the digital transformation of healthcare is the electronic patient record (ePA). Around 59 percent of Germans would like to use it, but a large proportion of the population feels poorly informed – 73 percent of respondents would like more information. There are also concerns about data security: 59 percent of respondents are worried about their data security when using the ePA.


Digitalization: speed and acceptance

Overall, 83 percent of Germans welcome digitization in healthcare and see it as strengthening the system. However, 72 percent criticized the slow pace of digital developments. The need for information is not limited to the ePA; 47 percent of citizens would also like more information on electronic prescriptions.


Tailored software solutions

These findings point to significant opportunities in the healthcare sector. The positive attitude towards digitalization and the willingness to adopt new technologies create a favorable environment for the implementation of customized software solutions. However, the public’s need for information and privacy concerns also underscore the need for transparent, secure, and user-friendly solutions.


But why all this? Clinicians spend 30 of their time on documentation, usually on paper, according to ZDF heute. The Hospital Report published by the AOK scientific institute ranks the level of digitization in German hospitals just at 2.3 out of a maximum of 7 points – more than 35 percent below the European average. The consequences are paper-based and error-prone workflows, uncoordinated diagnoses, heterogeneous data islands, and lost time in communication between doctors and nurses. According to BARMER, digitalization can help prevent up to 70,000 deaths per year in Germany alone.


Software vendors can help the healthcare sector improve patient care and increase healthcare services’ efficiency through innovative and paperless technologies. Customized software can help close information gaps and simplify access to healthcare services – while ensuring the highest level of data security.

Overall, the Bitkom survey shows that the German population attaches great importance to progress and innovation in healthcare and that there is a solid basis for the introduction and acceptance of new digital solutions. Customized, transparent, and secure solutions have the opportunity to play a key role in further developing the German healthcare system. After all, the need for individual enterprise software is particularly high in the healthcare sector.

Individual, demand-driven software developed with data protection in mind offers critical advantages in the healthcare sector:


  1. Sensitivity of patient data: Patient information is extremely sensitive and requires special protection. Custom software can be tailored to meet the specific needs of healthcare facilities to maximize data security.
  2. Integration with existing systems: Many healthcare organizations already use different software solutions for different tasks. A custom solution can ensure that these systems can communicate seamlessly.
  3. Regulatory requirements: The healthcare industry has several specific regulatory requirements, such as patient rights or medical record retention periods. Custom software can ensure that these requirements are met efficiently and correctly.
  4. Telemedicine: With the advent of telemedicine, it is essential to ensure secure communication channels between patients and medical staff. Custom software can be developed specifically for this purpose, helping to ensure privacy and efficiency.
  5. Improve patient care: Custom software can be used to streamline processes in healthcare facilities, which can lead to better patient care. For example, diagnostic tools, scheduling systems, or patient information systems can be tailored to a facility’s exact needs.


Demand-driven software in healthcare can not only streamline data processing but also help improve the quality of patient care. This is why healthcare organizations need to invest in such customized software solutions. Attention to privacy is essential in this context, to strengthen the trust of patients and medical staff, while at the same time complying with regulatory and legal requirements.