No more waiting at the doctor

Germany’s Hesse funds open source eHealth app

21/12/2018

The Ministry for Social Affairs and Integration in Hesse, one of Germany’s 16 federal states, is funding ‘Warts Ab’ (‘Wait for it’), a smartphone application that will let users avoid queues at their general practitioner and other medical services. The software will be made available as open source.

Close to one in five patients waits for about one hour in their GP’s waiting room, according to a 2013 study quoted by the ministry. Warts Ab, to be developed by the Technical University of Central Hesse, should make waiting a thing of the past. The app will tell each user the real time of their visits, and what time they should be at the doctor’s office. “The goal is to minimise waiting, and to allow this time to be used better,” the ministry says in its announcement.

Hesse will support the project in 2019 and 2020 with funding of EUR 319,000.

The app is one of five eHealth projects on which the ministry is spending a total of EUR 6 million. “Digitisation of healthcare offers great opportunities to bring medical expertise to patients”, the ministry quotes Minister Stefan Grüttner as saying. The other projects are a pilot and evaluation of a telemedicine epilepsy care project, testing of remote video consultations by emergency medical services, online therapy for stammering, and a project to improve patient data workflow in intensive care.

Warts Ab is not the sole open source project in Hesse. Last October, the state presented the ‘Entwicklergemeinschaft Geoportal’ (Geoportal developer community), a joint project with the states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland. The portal is based on open source, and the aim is to make it easy to share and reuse geospatial data infrastructures. And in September, the state unveiled a new portal for its schools. The portal uses open source software to avoid getting locked in, the Ministry of Education said in its announcement.

More information:

Press announcement by the Hessian Ministry for Social Affairs and Integration (in German)
Hessen Schau news item (in German)

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