An analysis of digital maturity by more than 1,500 German hospitals found that they achieved the highest marks on structures and systems while patient participation and telehealth had the most room for improvement.
The DigitalRadar consortium, which includes HIMSS and other research and advisory partners, carried out the evaluation on behalf of Germany’s Federal Ministry of Health. No other country has such a comprehensive database on the degree of digitisation of its hospital landscape.
“This project used HIMSS’s global expertise to create an unprecedented view on the digital maturity of Germany’s hospitals,” said HIMSS President & CEO Hal Wolf. “By building on our internationally recognized maturity model, EMRAM, Germany can evaluate the opportunity they have to improve the digital advancement of their health system.”
Last year, 1,624 hospitals — 91% of all planned hospitals in Germany — submitted self-assessments on their clinical processes, conditions of information exchange, and patient participation, among other factors. The results of this first data collection identify the areas of opportunity and provide guidance for the participating healthcare systems to develop a digital strategy.
The average DigitalRadar Score is 33 out of a possible 100 points, and most hospitals (70%) scored between 23 and 44 points.
Public hospitals performed best overall on the assessment, followed by private hospitals and nonprofits. Within the dimensions, larger hospitals also scored better than smaller ones. Hospitals in Berlin, Hamburg and Brandenburg showed the greatest digital maturity.
“The insights delivered by the DigitalRadar project will help hospitals identify the imminent next steps on their digital transformation journey and prioritize their resources accordingly,” said Armin Scheuer, executive director EMEA at HIMSS and speaker of the DigitalRadar consortium. “The data generated and the scientific evaluation of the project will provide a solid contribution to Germany’s efforts in developing a national digitization strategy for healthcare.”
The Hospital Futures Act mandates the measurement of digital maturity level for hospitals applying for funding. Following the assessment, most hospitals applied for funding in the categories of digital care and treatment documentation; patient portals; and digital medication management.
"The DigitalRadar project was able to determine from the results what resources and requirements are needed for the implementation of new digital applications and processes," said Prof. Dr. Sylvia Thun, Berlin Institute of Health at Charité University Medicine, co-project manager of DigitalRadar. “An institution's ability to positively influence the introduction of innovations will be limited by the size of the institution and its financial resources. Nevertheless, it remains a ray of hope that the will to change is articulated more clearly today or is even discussed at all.”
DigitalRadar will conduct additional evaluations, including examination of the connection between digitalisation and quality of care.
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