Electronic patient files: 76 percent of Germans want to use them

76 percent of the German population would like to use the electronic patient record (ePA) introduced by the statutory health insurance funds at the beginning of 2021, but the majority feel that they are not sufficiently informed about it by the health insurance companies and doctors. You are asking for improvements on this point. This was the result of a representative survey by Bitkom Research on behalf of the IT industry association Bitkom. According to this, only 0.5 percent of those surveyed use the EPR.

Specifically, 39 percent of the people surveyed in Germany plan to “definitely” use the epA, 37 percent said they “probably” said they would. Around 20 percent completely rule this out for themselves. Of them, 46 percent fear that the data stored about them is not sufficiently secure, says Bitkom Research. Of those who do not want to use the EPR, 20 percent see no added value in it. 29 percent do not want to use the EPR because they fear errors in data entry, which could lead to misdiagnosis or incorrect treatment. However, 20 percent also admit that they are not familiar with the topic.

The lack of information about the EPR seems to lead to a high level of uncertainty. Because 52 percent, and thus the majority of those surveyed, stated that they had not been adequately informed about the electronic patient file – neither from their health insurance nor from their doctors. 73 percent therefore demand more and more active information on the subject from doctors.

A majority of 62 percent are of the opinion that the electronic patient file should be created automatically for every health insured person. 41 percent of the German population surveyed consider the previous procedure for applying for an EPR to be too cumbersome.

In general, the respondents demand that the electronic patient record should be given additional features, such as a doctor search, appointment bookings and e-prescriptions. 72 percent are in favor of expanding the EPR in the direction of these services.

While some do not want to use the ePA due to concerns about data security, a majority of proponents are willing to voluntarily make their data available anonymously for research purposes. According to the results of the Bitkom survey, 60 percent of the people surveyed would make such a data donation.

The electronic patient record is a central component in the digitization of the health care system in Germany. Among other things, it bundles a patient’s medical data and diagnoses. From 2022, the ePA should also contain the vaccination certificate.

The representative telephone survey by Bitkom Research was carried out in November 2021 among 1003 people in Germany from the age of 16 years.


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