Germany a leader in digitizing healthcare

The Swiss think tank ConCep+ (CC+) has given Germany top marks for being a forerunner in digitizing healthcare. This finding is based on the results of a major CC+ study of 2000 companies in Germany and 7800 world-wide called Healthcare Movers 2020.

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CC+ says Germany's forward position in the global race to digitize healthcare can be attributed to companies it describes as "healthcare movers." These are particularly innovative enterprises that collect data all along the healthcare supply chain. The companies then process this data with technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Using versatile business models, they apply their findings to tap into new markets more efficiently. CC+ notes that there are start-ups and small and medium sized enterprises (SME) in this grouping, rather than just big pharmaceutical and medical technology companies.

CC+ administered the study in cooperation with Healthcare Shapers, a network of consulting companies that was established in 2013 in Rheingau. The study's author, CC+ founder and managing partner, Beatus Hofrichter says, "Nearly a third of the domestic players are healthcare movers," adding that the "avant-garde" is keeping Germany among the leaders in global competition.

A number of start-ups were counted among the most innovative firms. These include Ada Health, which has a health maintenance app of the same name, and Innoplexus – an AI and machine learning specialist in drug development, among other things.

The study found many of Germany's healthcare movers are based in Baden-Württemberg and Hessen. Large metropolitan areas such as Munich and Berlin are other areas of concentration. What is more, start-ups often spring from university research, such as Semalytix in Bielefeld. These locations reflect Germany's strength in converting research into successful businesses through government support and industrial cooperation with basic science.

At the same time, CC+ noted Germany still could improve in gathering and assessing mobile data such as healthcare information from smart watches, phones and fitness apps. Hofrichter explains, "Why does a doctor need to ask a person who's being admitted to the hospital all the questions that have already been answered on the Ada app?"

The export initiative for the German healthcare industry, HEALTH MADE IN GERMANY, is the place to find out more about the country's digital healthcare sector. It has also published online directories of companies and profiles of this branch of the industry.

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