Digital health record "Vivy © Michael Kappeler
With the new electronic health record "Vivy," patients can save doctor's appointments, vaccinations, X-rays or medication schedules via app. According to their own statements, the insurance companies attach great importance to data security.
It should also be "sexy for healthy people". Since this Monday, the electronic health record "Vivy" is on the market. Millions of people with health insurance should be able to manage their health data through the free smartphone app.
At the start, 13 statutory and two private health insurers with 13.5 million insured persons, including DAK, Allianz Krankenversicherung, Gothaer and Barmenia, are behind the system. More insurance companies want to join in – 25 million insureds to be reached. Insured patients whose health insurance company is not part of the system can access "Vivy" for a monthly fee of 4.90 euros.
Use is voluntary: in the future, insured persons over the age of 18 will be able to store findings, emergency data, lab results and X-rays on the app and make them available to their doctor. The application is also designed to store maternity or immunization records and remind people of vaccination appointments and checkups. Anyone who has to take several medications can scan the code from the packaging and store it in the system. The app should then warn of possible interactions.
In addition, the program is designed as a "health companion." Data such as sleep quality, the number of steps, weight and lifestyle, which are collected digitally by the patient himself, can be documented there.
As a result, the market for electronic health records in Germany is on the move; the digitization of the healthcare system is advancing. It is noteworthy that private and statutory health insurers are working together on "Vivy". The competition is following suit: At the end of April, Techniker Krankenkasse (TK) presented "TK-Safe," its own electronic health file, which is currently being tested.
The German AOK health insurance association is also testing a corresponding app as a pilot project in individual German states. Barmer, one of the largest health insurers with 9.3 million insured, has not yet announced any plans of its own. Health experts emphasize that the different systems must be compatible so that insureds can take their data with them when they change insurers.
Much easier in everyday life?
"Vivy will make many things easier in everyday practice, help to avoid duplicate examinations and create more transparency for practitioners and patients," said Andreas Storm, CEO of the participating health insurance company DAK-Gesundheit, on Monday in support of the new service.
More than two-thirds of German citizens – 69 percent – would not know when their next vaccination appointment is, according to the Forsa survey. 43 percent are not aware of the preventive medical checkups recommended for them. And one in four respondents has already experienced multiple examinations because results from other practices and clinics were not available.
The file should also contribute to better communication for doctors and hospitals. The data that a doctor provides to his patient should not be alterable, so that it is stored in an unaltered form and preserved in its original size.
Data security a top priority
Developers and insurers place great emphasis on data security: Only the users decide how the data is used, they say. The insurers, the IT service provider Bitmarck and Vivy GmbH would not have access to it.
According to the information provided, the data is stored on a server in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, which means that European data protection laws apply. The app is particularly secure thanks to multi-level end-to-end encryption, in which only the insured person has the key.
It is currently still completely open how the electronic health file of the health insurance companies will be combined with the introduction of an electronic patient file, which the Ministry of Health has been pushing for years. While the health record is intended from the patient's point of view, all administrative and medical data of the patient is recorded in the electronic patient record by the doctor and the hospital.
To enable sharing, doctors' offices, hospitals and other healthcare facilities must be equipped with appropriate technology and secure Internet connections must be established. The billion-dollar expansion of this telematics infrastructure has been delayed time and again.