Using the potential of digitalisation

The primary goal of all measures taken by the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) is to increase the safety of human medicinal products. Here, the collection, analysis and provision of health data for research purposes plays a significant role. Most recently, the Corona pandemic has shown how important it is for us to act together and to be able to access data and networks for this purpose.

Digitalisation, which is currently shaping the healthcare sector more than almost any other topic, offers a great potential in this regard. Specifically, it holds vast opportunities for optimal care and supply, the development of new therapies as well as efficient healthcare. Intelligent use of the increasing amount of health data is the focal point of this development. This includes so-called real-world-data, data that originates from just that: the real world, e.g. from physicians' offices or health insurance companies instead of from clinical studies.

It is precisely this healthcare data - with records from both outpatient and inpatient treatments – that the HDL makes available to researchers for analysis purposes. The challenge here is that claims data was primarily collected for billing purposes. In order to be able to use it effectively, the health data must be made available, processed and correctly interpreted by researchers. The HDL creates the necessary framework for usage of this data.

The work of the HDL is embedded in the data strategy adopted by the German government in January of 2021. This strategy is focussed on supporting us as a society to make use of the opportunities such data provides.