Germany: More efficient health care processes and expenditure management needed because of the demographic change.

SJS – 06/2019

At the beginning of June, the EU Commission published a report on the European health care and care systems and their fiscal sustainability. The report contains country-specific analyses aimed at helping the Member States to prepare their health and long-term care systems for the future.

According to the EU Commission, the growing pressure on European health care and long-term care systems is increasing due to demographic change, high public spending and debt, and technological progress. Therefore, the sustainability of the systems must be ensured through structural reforms and fiscal policy measures. Common European priorities include the further development of electronic health services and the expansion of programmes for disease prevention and health promotion.

Germany: More efficient health care processes and expenditure management needed

The country report for Germany addresses ground-breaking reforms that have been put in place to ensure the financial sustainability, efficiency and quality of general health care. The report states that the German health care system generally has a high level of coverage.

However, the analysis also shows that Germany needs to do more in terms of promoting further telemedicine and digital technologies in the health care system. This will improve communication between all those involved (patients, service providers and payers) and ensure that health processes are more effective. Given rising health care expenditure due to demographic change, health care spending must be managed more efficiently.

The German health system should also promote integrated care and service quality. According to the analysis, public health expenditure is expected to rise to 8.1 percentage points of gross domestic product by 2070, despite a declining population in Germany.

In terms of long-term care, Germany has prioritised its national strategy and the corresponding action plans for dementia and the improvement of access to home care services over the last two years. However, further efforts in the provision of effective home care and telecare need to be increased.

The report is positive about the progress being made in strengthening the financing of the long-term care system.