Interoperability in digital prescriptions

Germany trials X-Road to provide interoperable digital prescriptions

Published on: 09/12/2020
Last update: 15/12/2020

In times of COVID-19, trustworthy, interoperable public sector solutions are of special importance. Germany is trialing further digitisation of its healthcare and is relying on X-Road® data exchange layer solution to connect medical providers.

In Germany, each region’s public health association runs its own ICT infrastructure, yet the COVID-19 pandemic has proven the need to interconnect and interoperate the infrastructures to ensure continued service when many services need to be delivered digitally.

The Hessian public health association, in cooperation with pharmacies and health insurers has recognised this and invested in the digitalisation of its infrastructure, making possible video consultations and digital prescriptions, a novelty in Germany, they announced. In this, they have chosen X-Road as one of the technical bases to ensure the interoperability of connected medical providers.

Going Estonian

The decision makers decided to trust a solution that has proven itself in digital-savvy Estonia and other countries around the world, Pharmazeutische Zeitung reported. The data is decentralised, each authority, practice or hospital keeps its own database. The telematics infrastructure there was implemented by Nortal, the Estonian IT systems provider that is responsible for the Hessian pilot project.

The information should be available in the MORE titled portal and be easily accessible and managed for patients. It is planned to be possible to integrate it both into the service apps of the insurance companies and later into medication plans or into the electronic patient file.

All information coming from patients, doctors and service providers will be encrypted separately in three different data silos. The data should be possible to be linked together in a forgery-proof manner using blockchain technology. Patients will be able to track all access to their data.

Taavi Einaste, CEO of Nortal Germany told in a recent case story published by the Nordic Institute for Interoperability Solutions: “I think the pandemic has opened the eyes of digital pessimists and paper enthusiasts: the lack of digital services should be considered a systemic risk for any modern society. The opportunity to handle even a small section of healthcare cases digitally, or partly digitally, is something I think every medical administrator in the world has been looking for in the last 3-4 months. That’s why Nortal is now discussing the deployment of many new solutions in Germany. And beyond that, with our partners ottonova from Germany and inHealth in Abu Dhabi, we are working on a global travel enabling platform as well.”

On X-Road

X-Road is open-source software and ecosystem solution that provides unified and secure data exchange between organisations. “X-Road ensures confidentiality, integrity and interoperability between data exchange parties,” Petteri Kivimäki, Chief Technology Officer at the Nordic Institute for Interoperability Solutions (NIIS) told OSOR earlier. This allows X-Road environments to be federated easily, allowing members of federated systems to share services with each other. “When more countries implement X-Road, this greatly speeds up the technical starting point for cross-border data exchange,” Kivimäki says. NIIS’ mission is to ensure the development and strategic management of X-Road and other cross-border components for e-government infrastructure. The institute is responsible for developing the X-Road core software, and provides support to its members, currently Estonia and Finland. More countries are expected to join NIIS during the next years.