As exhibitors, we are allowed to take a look inside the Leonardo Royal Hotel at Alexanderplatz in Berlin the night before. Chairs are moved, cardboard boxes are stacked, walls are raised, and … Kinder Surprise eggs are loaded from a pallet. We’ll definitely keep an eye on that. As always, when we were allowed to work with the MCC, we are thrilled how so many hands interlock so reliably to pull up one of the largest health insurance events in Germany.
The next day, the doors of Ballroom 3 finally opened to everyone. Everyone, that is, insurance companies such as DAK (whose stand again outshines all others), Debeka, TK, and BARMER, political representatives such as Prof. Dr. Karl Broich from BfArM and representatives of patient care providers such as Dr. Gerald Gaß from the German Hospital Association. Day 1 of the KassenGipfel will be chaired by Prof. Dr. Dr. Alexander Ehlers, who, not for the first time, will lead the event with a great deal of expertise and keep the participants on their toes with pointed questions in the discussion rounds. Many of the topics covered are not new. Last year, for example, we already discussed the digitization of the checkout system and standardized interfaces. But now a certain urgency shines through when the experts describe their impressions, such as the financial challenges in the coming years and the question of whether the German “fast track” procedure is still worthy of its name and will not soon become obsolete. New to the discussion is the “Green Healthcare” topic block, which deals with sustainability in healthcare. This, too, is certainly here to stay.
It was time for EIT Health to get involved on the first afternoon when Stakeholder Relations Lead Dr. Michael Lüttgen entered the panel “Digitalization in the healthcare sector”. After Lüttgen’s first statement, the audience already suspects that this exchange will be anything but conventional: “We are in the paleozoic era of digitalization in the German healthcare sector,” he challenges. No wonder the ensuing debate is a heated one.
Another highlight of the first day of the program is definitely the much-anticipated political health roundtable “Health 2025: can we do it?”, which brought representatives of the AFD, FDP, SPD and the Left to the table to talk about their own vision for health care in the next election period and to answer awkward questions from the audience. The hour clearly went by too quickly, and as hastily as the politicians* came in, they snowed out again. And we, since the first day is over, follow behind them.
One look into tired eyes the next morning is enough to guess who was still enjoying the organizer’s after-show program at the Hofbräu Wirtshaus on the first day. But it is worthwhile to take note of the start of the program at 8:30 a.m., because the moderator for today is none other than Dr. Katharina Ladewig, Managing Director of the new Center for Artificial Intelligence in Public Health Research and Managing Director of our parent company Innovation in Health. The fact that Ladewig is donning the moderator’s hat already foreshadows: on today’s day of the congress, we are taking a critical look at the German healthcare system and its resilience, innovative strength and perhaps also will. The topic of digitization is also clearly in focus today. And not least because our personal highlight is still to come.
This awaits the guests – at least those whose seats are not yet exhausted – namely after lunch. Together with the science medium Science Business, we organized the satellite event “Future-Proofing Medicines” as part of the Science Business event series Future-Proofing Medicines. For 90 minutes, our experts from politics and healthcare discussed the question “Can Germany effectively meet its future healthcare requirements with new therapeutic approaches if we keep the current system? “.
Moderator Carlos Haertel led our discussants through two sessions:
First session: Medical science, innovation and regulation. Karl Broich (German Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices) opened the session with his reflective presentation “Lessons learned: Where are we going?” to be followed by an open panel discussion with Christine Dehn (Deutsche Herzstiftung e. V.), Prof. Dr. Geraldine Rauch (Technische Universität Berlin), and Prof. Dr. Freimut Schliess (EIT Health; Profil Institut für Stoffwechselforschung GmbH).
The second session “Data, digitization and regulation” was introduced by Nick Schneider (Federal Ministry of Health), who spoke about “The road to EHDS: Where are we now, where do we want to go?” and then joined the discussants of this session, namely Valerie Kirchberger (Heartbeat Medical), Dr. Christoph Löschmann (Gesundes Kinzigtal GmbH) and Prof. Jochen Klucken, MD (University of Luxembourg).
The key findings of our expert panels at a glance:
🔹 Patients need faster and simpler ways to benefit from innovative solutions.
🔹 The quality of medicine in Europe must not be jeopardized by an approval process that is outsourced to economically attractive areas and must continue to follow global standards.
🔹 European regulations would enable uniform solutions in the digitization of healthcare, overriding federal, differentiating laws.
🔹 The usability of health data leads to better care for patients and efficient design of ecosystems. Lengthy processes and procrastination jeopardize patients* who could benefit from new regulations.
🔹 Real-life Data = Real-life Evidence: Health Data is a Testimony to Quality of Care.
🔹 We need a new mindset that allows a focus on usability to be at the forefront of the discussion, rather than focusing on potential misuse.
The 2022 KassenGipfel in Berlin also ended with this discussion and the participants set off on their sometimes more, sometimes less long way home. With a head full of new ideas and insights and … Wait, what actually happened to the pallet of Kinder Surprise eggs!