For better medical care – Innovation Fund sets impulses
Research that takes a close look at everyday medical practice
Germany already has the oldest population in Europe, and more and more people are suffering from chronic diseases. The need for medical care will therefore not only increase in the future, but also change qualitatively. For example, ways must be found to ensure emergency medical care in rural areas by using telemedical approaches or by delegating medical tasks to specifically trained medical staff. In addition, ways should be shown how medical treatment can be successfully continued after a hospital stay or in a care facility.
It is precisely for this purpose that the Federal Government launched the Innovation Fund in 2016. Its task is to strengthen health care research and promote the development of new forms of health care. The overarching goal behind this is to improve established treatments and models of standard care and to advance the further development of the German healthcare system in an evidence-based manner. Accordingly, recommendations have already been made for the first projects to be included in standard services.
Involved right from the start – DLR-PT
The DLR-PT Health Division has accompanied the G-BA's funding measures as a central partner from the very beginning. Based on the scientific expertise of our staff in all matters relating to clinical and health services research and profound know-how in funding management, our services cover a wide range of tasks – from the preparation of the content of funding announcements and funding decisions to the technical and administrative support of the individual projects and the final evaluation of the project results.
In order to master the challenges in medical care, special expertise is also required, for example on the remuneration of SHI-accredited physicians, the standardised assessment scale for outpatient services and possible ways of transferring new forms of care into standard care. DLR-PT also brings this expertise to bear in its support of the Innovation Fund.
Impressive key figures, high commitment
By the end of 2020, more than 400 projects with a volume of approximately 1.2 billion euros had been funded – these figures stand for the significant impetus of the Innovation Fund for better care in statutory health insurance and also for the high level of commitment of our employees: In the first funding period, 30 funding announcements were supported, and our employees conducted more than 8,000 counselling interviews with prospective funding recipients via the central telephone hotline and in web seminars. In addition, more than 1,500 outlines and applications were prepared for the selection process.
Second funding period – tried and tested priorities, new facets
With the Digital Health Care Act (DVG), funding through the Innovation Fund will be continued for the years 2020 - 2024. DLR-PT has also been commissioned to implement the funding measures for this funding period. Until 2024, the Innovation Fund will provide funding of 200 million euros each year for the further development of the healthcare system. We are significantly involved in this as a service provider for the Innovation Fund. 160 million euros per year will be allocated to the promotion of new forms of healthcare, and 40 million euros per year is earmarked for health services research projects. Of this, at least 5 million euros per year is allocated to the development and adaptation of medical guidelines which show doctors options for decision-making and action and support them in treatment.
The most current topics are also taken up in the funding announcements of the Innovation Fund. For example, in addition to the increasingly relevant topic of digitalisation since 2021, the Covid19 pandemic is addressed.
In Deutschland sind mehr als 70 Millionen Menschen gesetzlich krankenversichert. Welche Leistungen sie in Anspruch nehmen können – also etwa welches Medikament sie ohne Zuzahlung in der Apotheke erhalten oder welche Therapie zur Regelversorgung gehört –, definiert der Gemeinsame Bundesausschuss (G-BA). Ihm gehören Ärzteschaft, Kliniken, Krankenkassen und Patientenvertretungen an.
The Innovation Fund is part of the G-BA's Innovation Committee. With its funding, it takes a close look at everyday medical practice; the projects it supports are intended to provide new findings that contribute to further improving the quality of care for those with statutory health insurance.