Hospital Future Act to promote digitalization
Cash injection for hospitals to enhance IT security and expand digital infrastructure

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) is initiating a comprehensive investment program to support hospitals as they embark on digital transformation. With the decision already made, management staff at hospitals should act now to take advantage of the opportunities available to them.

In order to create the appropriate incentives, the BMG is offering up to EUR 3 billion from federal funds so that hospitals can invest in modern emergency capacity and digitalization under the Hospital Future Act (Krankenhauszukunftsgesetz, KHZG), which was adopted at its second and third reading on September 18, 2020. The Bundesrat, or Federal Council, approved the bill on October 9, 2020.

The Hospital Future Fund (KHZF) is to be set up by the Federal Office for Social Security (BAS) for financing purposes. Starting January 1, 2021, the German government will make EUR 3 billion available to the KHZF through the liquidity reserve of the health fund. An additional EUR 1.3 billion will be provided through co-funding by the federal states and hospital operators themselves. At least 15 percent of the funding requested must be used to improve IT security.

Digital maturity of hospitals according to the KHZG

The state of hospitals’ digitalization – their “digital maturity” – is to be evaluated on June 30, 2021, and on June 30, 2023. The aim is to determine the extent to which the digital maturity of the hospitals receiving funding has improved and whether the overall investment program has created incentives for more digitalization in hospitals.

KHZG: digitalization support plus penalties for hospitals that fail to act

The Hospital Future Act ensures funding for those hospitals that wish to actively promote the digitalization of their processes and medical services and receive financial support for achieving their goals. In addition, the overall package also provides for penalties to be imposed on hospitals that have failed to introduce the digital services eligible for funding from the Hospital Future Fund by 2025.

The plan is for health insurance companies and hospitals to agree to a penalty of up to 2 percent on the invoice amount for each full and partial inpatient case for the period starting January 1, 2025, if a hospital fails to provide any of the relevant digital services. The exact amount of this penalty is to be determined by the number of services provided in principle and their actual utilization rate.

Current need for action as a result of the Hospital Future Act

Hospital managers are now faced with the task of answering various questions, if they have not done so already: What is the hospitals’ degree of digitalization? Which digitalization projects make sense, and what is the appropriate concept for this purpose? What requirements have to be met, and what digitalization measures are eligible for funding under the Hospital Future Act?

What matters here is making positive, targeted and forward-looking use of funding opportunities rather than getting left behind and facing the threat of having to pay penalties if digitalization measures are not implemented.

For full details of the Hospital Future Act (KHZG), funding and more, see our FAQs below.

Measures and projects eligible for funding under the KHZG

The KHZG states that the Hospital Future Fund (KHZF) will support measures in the following areas:

  • Investments in modern emergency capacity
  • Improvement of digital infrastructure
  • Measures to increase IT security
  • Development and expansion of cross-sectoral telemedical network structures
  • Necessary personnel measures

The importance and benefits of digitalization in the hospital environment

The aim of the KHZG is to further improve medical care at German hospitals, thereby ensuring high-quality care in the long term. At the same time, the aim is to open up new perspectives for staff, in particular based on the potential offered by digitalization. The main focal points are:

  • Improving patient service performance by introducing self-service applications and service portals for access to appointments, doctor’s letters, checklists and more
  • Improving information security by introducing information security management systems (ISMS)
  • Improving patient data security and infrastructure security by means of organizational and technical IT security measures, such as improving data access management or implementing the latest encryption methods
  • Relieving employees by means of user-friendly web applications and other applications, by digitalizing previously paper-based or manual processes and linking or integrating them into the hospital management software (HMS), or by using IoT product, system solutions and mobile device solutions

 

We can support you in identifying, planning and implementing your projects that are eligible for funding under the KHZG by:

  • Identifying digitalization potential for your hospital, developing a strategy and road map, and conceptualizing and prioritizing eligible digitalization projects
  • Preparing preliminary analyses and developing concepts for application
  • Providing analysis, independent advice and support in the selection of the software solution, platforms, cloud services, AI or IoT technology and more that is best suited to your needs
  • Realizing digitalization projects from start to finish or in sections: design, development, expansion or optimization, and deployment and maintenance of IT and IoT applications
  • Managing and executing implementation, migration and optimization projects
  • Developing and managing interfaces, and operating applications, solutions and system landscapes
  • Providing advice and coaching, and taking on tasks and roles in project management, the project management office (PMO) and interface management

15 percent of funding for IT security: our specialist expertise

With decades of experience in sectors with particularly high security requirements, ranging from aviation to the hospital environment, Lufthansa Industry Solutions is a leading expert in information security and data protection.

We offer state-of-the-art IT security services – from the analysis of security needs and the development of security concepts to the implementation and monitoring of technical security solutions as well as the execution of penetration tests. We are not a product reseller. Instead, we provide professional and totally independent advice.

Our security specialists support you as follows:

In the healthcare sector, and especially in the hospital environment, sensitive data is collected, processed and stored in a variety of ways. If this data were to be stolen or manipulated, or if access by authorized persons were to be prevented, the consequences would be catastrophic for patients and the company itself.

We can support you when it comes to:

  • Developing and optimizing information security management systems (ISMS)
  • Expert IT risk management
  • Elaborating the specific requirements within the scope of legislation for critical infrastructure (KRITIS)
  • Data protection

With the increasing digitalization of the healthcare system, appropriate solutions that are well suited to the specific application situation are also needed on a technical level.

We offer a wide range of expertise and can advise you on the following:

  • Setting up and optimizing monitoring mechanisms that detect attacks early and help prevent them as quickly as possible
  • Creating and handling digital keys for technical systems
  • Making secure use of cloud technologies (especially in Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services [AWS])
  • Securing software solutions and their development processes
  • Designing and implementing customized identity and (privileged) access management solutions
  • Secure connection and management of mobile devices
  • Integrating and validating IoT components in your network

Just as a doctor monitors the recovery of a patient, it is also vital to keep an eye on the state of technical systems. For this purpose, it is important to run tests, secure data and take proactive measures.

Here too, we have the right expertise and can offer you:

  • Functional and technical audits
  • Proactive services such as penetration tests Here, our experts perform simulated cyberattacks under controlled conditions on your applications, systems and devices and show you what a malicious attacker would have been able to exploit.

Can we support you?

What aspects or topics might be relevant for your hospital?

At hospitals in particular, digitalization offers countless opportunities for increasing safety, reducing the burden on employees and enhancing transparency, efficiency and quality. Join us as we take a closer look at:

COVID-19 containment solutions

COVID-19, its containment and its treatment will continue to challenge society for a while to come and keep the healthcare sector on its toes. Various IT solutions can provide relief and support here, such as:

  • Monitoring and documentation of hand hygiene and other hygiene requirements for medical staff and patients using an IoT solution
  • Electronic distance measurement by means of IoT or camera solutions, for example
  • Automatic detection of fever in access areas by means of technologies such as fever cameras
  • Detection of breaches of face mask requirements using camera systems
  • Digital visitor registration, recording and tracking
  • Electronic contact chain tracking to prevent infections and track infection routes
  • Digital handling of COVID-19 test results and automated reporting to relevant bodies such as the Robert Koch Institute or the health authorities

IT security measures and solutions

IT security is absolutely vital and should not be neglected in digitalization projects, especially in sensitive areas such as the hospital environment and the healthcare sector. Protecting data and ensuring that systems function properly and are resilient is a top priority. For this reason, the following points are particularly relevant:

  • Rolling out or optimizing information security management systems (ISMSs)
  • Implementing technical IT security measures, including preliminary analyses
  • Testing and securing medical networks and mobile devices to prevent external attacks and unauthorized access (Network Access Control, NAC)
  • Introducing NAC

Click here for more information about our IT security services.

Patient-oriented solutions

Many patient management processes can be significantly simplified and automated by means of digital solutions to reduce the burden on hospital staff while increasing patient safety and convenience. Examples include:

  • Electronic documentation of care and treatment services
  • In-house navigation for patients
  • Electronic bed management
  • Digitalization of the form and reporting system
  • Portals for secure digital patient consultation
  • Self-service applications and apps for patients, from checklists for preparing for a hospital stay and providing feedback to requesting additional services such as hair care, foot care and gift shop orders

Cloud services

One question that arises in connection with many digitalization projects is: cloud, on-premise or hybrid? The answer depends the data being handled, the availability and scalability requirements, and the capabilities of the solution in terms of governance, privacy and access rights. LHIND has wide-ranging expertise in this area, such as:

  • Cloud strategy consulting
  • Cloud architectures
  • Cloud migration
  • Cloud hybrid solutions

Click here for more information about our cloud services.

Mobile solutions

In order to optimize processes in everyday hospital management and improve digital patient services, access via mobile devices and the use of such devices also play a role in digitalization projects. Examples include:

  • For medical personnel: Editing checklists, data and forms on mobile devices; bedside access to information on therapies and exercises; and much more
  • For patients: Appointment management; access to patient documents such as doctor’s letters, ECG and other results; feedback options; access to the hospital’s current food menus with ordering options; ordering gift shop items; contacting hospital volunteers or the hospital’s in-house pastoral care; overview of contact details; requesting additional services such as hair care; and more
  • Higher level: Security aspects for the connection and security of mobile devices

Click here for more information about our mobile solutions.

IoT solutions

IoT technologies and platforms are suitable for a wide range of applications in the hospital environment and can greatly relieve manual work effort while increasing transparency and safety. Options include:

  • Real-time location of medical technology equipment and assets
  • Visitor tracking for tracing of contacts and contact periods
  • Monitoring of distance management
  • Hindering the theft of medical devices
  • Monitoring and documentation of hand hygiene and other hygiene regulations
  • Tracking of infection routes
  • Indoor navigation
  • Access control
  • Monitoring of maintenance intervals and messages on devices that are defective, empty or need to be cleaned
  • Automated monitoring and management of drugs, emergency vehicles, operating procedures and more


Click here for more information about the LHIND Insight Suite in hospitals and healthcare as well as our other IoT solutions.

AI support

Artificial Intelligence is already being used in some areas of medicine. It supports diagnostics, is used for a wide variety of forecasts and can relieve staff of a significant amount of work and redundant tasks. Possible uses include:

  • Medical diagnostics
  • Occupancy forecasts
  • Medication requirements forecasts
  • Stock item demand forecasts
  • Billing-related diagnostic evaluations

Click here for more information about our AI solutions and services.

Application management

Even in a hospital environment, software architectures are often heterogeneous, growing and changing over the years. The more complex the IT environment becomes, the more difficult it is to stay organized, and the more maintenance it requires. The relevant points here are:

  • Homogenization of organic or department-specific IT system structures
  • Optimization of interface management
  • Application and storage relocation to secure cloud environments
  • Targeted application management and operation for the different applications

Click here for more information about our application management services.

Why LHIND?

  • For many years now, we have served hospitals throughout Germany, as well as various other organizations in the healthcare sector.
  • Our team of IT consultants, developers and security specialists has years of experience and specialized industry know-how.
  • We offer our customers conceptualization and successful implementation of migration projects and newly developed solutions – always consistently aligned to your requirements.
  • With us, you will receive advice that is independent of any product or manufacturer in order to find the optimum solution to suit your needs. We serve medium-sized organizations and large corporations alike.

Do you need advice or support for digitalization projects at your hospital – or in connection with the Hospital Future Act? If so, feel free to get in touch with us.

We look forward to hearing more about your upcoming challenges and will be glad to support you.

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Frequently asked questions: the Hospital Future Act (KHZG)

The Hospital Future Act (KHZG) is an investment program initiated by the German federal government that is aimed at digitalizing and strengthening regional healthcare structures. With the federal government’s investment aid through the Hospital Future Fund, hospitals will receive funding for urgently needed modernization investments that are not available through regular investment financing as provided by the federal states. The federal government is providing EUR 3 billion for the almost 2,000 hospitals in Germany to invest in modern emergency capacity and digitalization. The states themselves are to raise further investment funds of EUR 1.3 billion. This law implements the “Future Program for Hospitals,” which was adopted by the coalition government on June 3, 2020. Having passed its second reading by the Bundesrat, or Federal Council, the KHZG came into effect October 9, 2020.

The draft Hospital Future Act (KHZG) is divided into two parts. The first part concerns investments in the modernization and digitalization of hospitals, while the second part concerns aid and a protective shield to cover the financial consequences of the coronavirus pandemic for hospitals. For example, hospitals can use the funding to invest in modern emergency facilities, IT security and digital solutions such as electronic treatment documentation or patient portals. The federal government will fund 70 percent of such projects, with co-funding of 30 percent to be provided by the federal states and/or the hospital operators themselves.

The Hospital Future Act (KHZG) applies to the almost 2,000 hospitals in Germany and consists of investment aid for hospital digitalization projects.

The KHZG came into force after being adopted by the Bundestag on September 18, 2020, and after the second reading by the Bundesrat, or Federal Council, on October 9, 2020.

Since September 2, 2020, hospital operators have been able to start implementing projects and informing the federal states of their funding requirements. Since the law came into effect (October 9, 2020), the federal states have been able to submit applications for funding to the Federal Office for Social Security; the submission deadline is December 31, 2021. Federal funds not applied for will be returned to the federal government by the end of 2023.

Applications for funding can be submitted to the Federal Office for Social Security (BAS) through the federal states. The Hospital Future Fund is being established by the BAS, and hospitals can apply for funding from it through the federal states. The federal states decide which hospitals receive funding.

Under the Hospital Future Act (KHZG), investments in modern emergency capacity and an improved digital infrastructure are funded; the required personnel measures can also be financed.

Thirty percent of the funding has to be provided by the federal states and/or the hospital operators. At least 15 percent of the funding requested for the project must be used for measures to improve information security.

The KHZG requires an evaluation of whether the digital maturity of a hospital has been improved as a result of the funding. The digital maturity of all hospitals – not only that of funded hospitals – is to be assessed, thereby providing a comprehensive overview.

To this end, the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) has commissioned a research institution to carry out an evaluation by February 28, 2021, to support the Hospital Information Fund (KHZF) with regard to the digitalization of all hospitals. The evaluation is to reveal the extent to which hospital digitalization and patient care might be improved by the funding. This evaluation will also determine the degree of maturity of all hospitals with regard to digitalization as of June 30, 2021, and June 30, 2023, taking into account evaluation criteria of recognized maturity models. The hospitals to which funding has been granted will send the structured self-assessment as required for the evaluation of their implementation status of digital measures to the research institution commissioned by the BMG.

The Hospital Future Fund (KHZF) is the fund that has been set up by the Federal Office for Social Security (BAS) to promote measures under the Hospital Future Act. Starting January 1, 2021, the Federal Government will make EUR 3 billion available to the KHZF through the liquidity reserve of the health fund. Hospitals can apply for funding from this fund through federal states. It is up to the federal states to decide which hospitals receive funding.

The Hospital Future Fund is being set up in the same way as the Hospital Structure Fund.
In order to ensure maximum effectiveness, the new Hospital Future Fund is to be dovetailed with the existing Hospital Structure Fund. The latter is to be extended for four years and receive a total of EUR 2 billion by 2024.

The Hospital Structure Fund is maintained by the Federal Office for Social Security (BAS). The BAS uses it to grant funds for improving structures in hospital care. The Hospital Structure Fund (structural fund) was originally established with EUR 500 million on January 1, 2016. This funding was initially intended to reduce excess capacity, concentrate inpatient care and facilities, and transform hospitals into centers for local, non-acute inpatient care.

The Hospital Future Fund is now being set up in the same way as the Hospital Structure Fund. The aim is to support measures under the Hospital Future Act (KHZG) that serve to promote the digitalization of hospitals, among other things. In order to ensure maximum effectiveness, the new Hospital Future Fund is to be dovetailed with the existing Hospital Structure Fund. The latter is to be extended for four years and receive a total of EUR 2 billion by 2024.

The leaders of the German coalition government adopted the “Future Program for Hospitals” in June 2020 as part of a major package to deal with the coronavirus crisis. This future program is being implemented through the Hospital Future Act (KHZG).

Based on the Hospital Future Act (KHZG), the Hospital Future Fund (KHZF) supports investments in modern emergency capacity and improved digital infrastructure. Examples include patient portals, electronic documentation of care and treatment services, digital medication management, measures for IT security, cross-sectoral telemedical network structures and necessary personnel measures.

The federal states can submit applications for funding to the Federal Office for Social Security from when the law comes into force until December 31, 2021. Federal funds not applied for will be returned to the federal government by the end of 2023.

The Hospital Future Fund (KHZF) is being set up by the Federal Office for Social Security (BAS). Hospitals can apply for funding from it through the federal states. The federal states decide which hospitals receive funding.

In order to ensure maximum effectiveness, the new Hospital Future Fund is to be dovetailed with the existing Hospital Structure Fund. The latter is to be extended for four years and receive a total of EUR 2 billion by 2024.

Hospitals that have not introduced digital services eligible for funding through the Hospital Future Fund by 2025 will face penalties.

The plan is for health insurance companies and hospitals to agree to a penalty of up to 2 percent on the invoice amount for each full and partial inpatient case for the period starting January 1, 2025, if a hospital fails to provide any of the relevant digital services. The exact amount of this penalty is to be determined by the number of services provided in principle and their actual utilization rate.