Digitising Germany’s health records could save 70.000 lives, research reveals

Digitising Germany’s health records could save 70.000 lives, research reveals

Research by the health insurance company, BARMER has exposed that digitising health records in Germany could mean saving 70.000 lives annually across the country. Emergency treatment would also be much improved.

Digitisation of German health records could be lifesaving

A report by BARMER, a company based in Hamburg that offers statutory health insurance, has claimed that 1.000 deaths could be avoided in the city every year if the healthcare system was further digitised. Currently, if you attend a new doctor’s practice in Germany, you are responsible for giving information about your past health conditions or any medicine that you might be taking. 

According to BARMER, digitising health records in Germany would mean a total of 70.000 deaths per year, often caused by people taking multiple medications consistently, could be avoided. “Because of the complexity of drug therapy it isn’t possible for doctors to maintain an overview and asses medication risks,” Susanne Klein of BARMER told the dpa, “In order to document everything a digital service is vital”. 

Hamburg patients visited 24 doctors' practices

BARMER’s figure of 70.000 lives was calculated using data from their own patients in Hamburg. According to the health insurance company, over a period of 10 years, the average Hamburger visited 24 doctor’s offices, received 36 different diagnoses and 19 different prescriptions.

Among polypharmacy patients - those who permanently take multiple medicines - the number of prescriptions was almost double. This group make up 10 percent of all those insured by BARMER.

Klein also pointed out that a digitised healthcare database in Germany would mean that more personalised care could be given in a medical emergency: “Without a complete knowledge of current medications, drug therapy becomes an incalculable risk.”

Thumb image credit: fizkes /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



Leave a comment