Today, the Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation (EFI) presented its annual report to Federal Minister of Education and Research, Bettina Stark-Watzinger. The presentation had been postponed due to the current political situation. Professor Irene Bertschek, head of the ZEW Research Department “Digital Economy”, is a member of EFI. One of the core topics addressed in this year’s report is digitalisation in the health care sector. The expert commission points out shortcomings and calls for immediate action.

Photo of the experts at the EFI Annual Report 2022.
Professor Dr. Till Requate, Professor Dr. Irene Bertschek, Professor Dr. Katharina Hölzle, Professor Dr. Uwe Cantner, Minister of Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Professor Dr. Holger Bonin, Professor Dr. Carolin Häussler.

“Compared to other European countries, Germany is lagging far behind in the digitalisation of the health care sector. The current COVID-19 crisis has clearly shown the massive deficits that the German health care system has in this respect,” says Professor Irene Bertschek. At the same time, digitalisation in the health care sector holds great potential for innovation and value creation. “Our analysis shows that digital technologies can improve the quality of health care. In addition, the increasing availability of health data in connection with modern digital methods to analyse data offer new and far-reaching opportunities for more personalised diagnostics and treatment.” EFI advises the federal government to develop and implement a digitalisation strategy as fast as possible and in cooperation with all relevant stakeholders in the health care sector. In addition, the expert commission recommends that the Health Data Usage Act (Gesundheitsdatennutzungsgesetz) announced in the coalition agreement should be brought forward and that more information on the functioning, handling and advantages of telemedicine and digital health applications should be provided.

Further topics featured in the 2022 EFI report include the potential of digital platforms, the research and innovation policy for the new legislative period, key technologies and technological sovereignty, as well as the promotion of sustainability in motorised individual transport.