More money, more staff, more digitization: the demands that representatives of the health professions make on the next federal government are diverse. "There is a shortage in almost every health profession," said Andreas Gassen, head of the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, on Thursday at the health and care conference in Frankfurt organized by the FAZ and the Robert Bosch Foundation. Health professions have to become more attractive, said Gassen. The entire remuneration structures would have to be changed, further savings through politics are not justifiable: “It won't get cheaper any more.” Klaus Reinhardt, President of the German Medical Association, agreed. He also calls for new ways of getting patients to the doctors. Emergency rooms and general practitioners would have to be relieved. You have to get out of a statein which all those involved are "afraid of rationalizing themselves away".

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The corona pandemic has shown how efficient the German healthcare system is.

But the crisis also revealed weaknesses.

For example, that health authorities in many places still work with fax machines.

Germany must now act on digitization, said Heyo Kroemer, CEO of the Berlin Charité.

Countries like China or private providers like Amazon Care showed what medical care will look like in the future.

"If we don't manage to digitize our healthcare system in the next five years, others will do it for us."

Digitization as an opportunity

Digitization offers many opportunities for medical care in Germany. Processes can be streamlined, data can be exchanged more easily. Telemedicine is particularly interesting for rural areas, where there are fewer and fewer doctors and the patient's journey is becoming longer and longer. Hospital representatives say that good solutions in digitization could also lead to more time for the patient. German start-ups are already showing what the digitization of health care can look like. There are apps that bring everyday helpers together with the elderly or provide initial diagnoses of symptoms of illness. Since data protection plays an important role, especially with sensitive health data, young entrepreneurs also offer solutions to avoidthat doctors have to send their colleagues x-rays of patients via Whatsapp, for example.

A fundamental problem in the German health care system is the division of patient care between hospitals and resident doctors.

Gassen from the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians also sees politics as having an obligation here.

Many structural problems depended on existing rules, he said at the congress.

However, he is critical of suggestions that nursing staff or pharmacists should be given more responsibility.

"Employers want a certificate of incapacity for work from a doctor, not from a pharmacist."

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