Leistungen // Laterales Management

digitalisation means loss-free reproduction

Whilst public discussion is concentrating on the issue of job cuts, health insurers in particular are embarking on new methods of digital co-operation. This is unusual because statutory health insurers in Germany are heavily regulated. In order to generate ideas for a smart health market, the German health insurer Techniker Krankenkasse is cooperating with the Handelsblatt (a commercial gazette) and the Federal Ministry of Health: They have established the Health-i Award, where an external expert committee evaluates the best ideas.

Barmer-GEK is even involved in a risk fund. This is a tricky matter because involvement in risky financial models is actually prohibited. We know that private investors invest risk capital in start-ups and in this way establish financial funds, but health insurance institutions.

The biggest innovation driver in the health sector is the new IT technologies

In North Rhine Westphalia there is a new fund for medical technology which is supposed to acquire €120 million. It has been founded by the venture capital company Earlybird in Berlin. The fund's focus is support for companies in the medical technology, digital health and diagnostic sector. This is because, according to the fund operator, the greatest innovation driver in the health sector is the use of new IT technologies.

The Chairman of the Board at Barmer-GEK articulates his objectives like this: "Our aim with this cooperation is to actively drive medical progress forward and ultimately to facilitate new forms of care for the benefit of patients." This is why Barmer-GEK is involved to the tune of €15 million. The other investors are the state NRW-Bank, the company Miele as well is the Federal Ministry of Economics. The fact that Barmer-GEK is able to invest is due to the collateralisation of the investment by ERP funds and Earlybird. And because Barmer-GEK's share does not entail any risk, it is subject to interest at only 2%.

Barmer-GEK is fully committed to its internet strategy

Whilst the AOKs (local healthcare funds) prefer advice for their clients on site, TK and Barmer-GEK are going for advice on the internet. That is why Barmer-GEK has made more than 5,000 employees redundant in recent years and closed down a large number of sites. The AOKs, on the other hand, are going for digitalisation and a presence on site.

The reason why the Federal Ministry of Economics is engaging here is that they want to promote partnerships between the public and private sector. To put it in the officialese, this would open up room for regulatory experimentation. As consultants we are very familiar with the AOK world. Consequently, we are sure that they are likewise preparing for digitalisation.