The Charité and the Unfallkrankenhaus Berlin (UKB) want research successes to benefit their patients more quickly. The doctors at the state-owned university clinic are to cooperate more closely with the doctors at the Marzahner UKB – Charité boss Heyo Kroemer and UKB managing director Axel Ekkernkamp signed a corresponding agreement on Wednesday. In some subjects, training and further education are therefore organized jointly.

According to the plan, the doctors of the two houses will coordinate with each other, especially in emergency medicine as well as hand, replantation and microsurgery. Patients who were initially diagnosed at the Charité could be operated on by the UKB surgeons – for example, when it comes to spinal cord injuries, where the Marzahn doctors enjoy a good reputation nationwide. Conversely, it would make sense to have neurology cases recorded at the UKB treated at the Charité in the near future, where there is great expertise in this field.

Berlin can be further strengthened as an important science location and health city if there is an interlocking of different expertises, said Health Senator Ulrike Gote (Greens) on Wednesday in the UKB. The current agreement is part of the tenacious efforts to turn Berlin into a synergy-generating “Health City 2030”. This refers to the plan by ex-Senate leader Michael Müller (SPD) to expand Berlin into a research metropolis respected worldwide.

As reported, in addition to the Charité, the state-owned Vivantes clinics should also play a role. Charité and Vivantes are now exchanging their treatment data, and the IT structure of both hospital groups was adjusted in 2021. In this way, “vital time” should be saved: Doctors and nursing staff could access laboratory values ​​more quickly in order to decide in which individual clinic the respective patient would be best cared for.

Just two weeks ago, Charité and Bayer’s pharmaceuticals division agreed to set up a center for gene and cell therapy together. With the expertise from the center, research results should be put into practice more quickly than before in everyday clinical practice. The center is likely to be built next to the Bayer headquarters at Nordhafen. However, there is still a lot to be clarified in terms of construction and competition law.

Difficulties are also threatening in view of the already sluggish digitization in Germany, i.e. the electronic processing of patient data. Roughly simplified, the Berlin Hospital Act stipulates that patient data may not be processed outside of the respective clinics. There are a few exceptions for research purposes – and there is a city-wide moratorium until the fall. After that, however, the hospitals would have to operate a server on their premises.

That could work, but in many cases it seems questionable in terms of the division of labour. Sensitive data – i.e. diagnoses, addresses, insurance status – should probably be technically better protected by external IT specialists. The CDU wants to discuss the question of more flexible handling of hospital data in the House of Representatives; There is also vague information from the Senate Health Administration that the problem is known.

“We should immediately delete the relevant paragraph in the hospital law, otherwise our clinics will have massive international disadvantages,” said the health expert of the CDU parliamentary group, Christian Zander. “Especially since even the German health insurance companies are allowed to commission external IT service providers. Why not our clinics?”

The Charité and the UKB currently seem to get along more harmoniously. The boards of both hospitals have already agreed that minimally invasive operations on joints should be treated at the university clinic and severe burns and complex hand injuries should be treated at the UKB. However, Berlin’s traditional fragmentation still has to be overcome. Charité Vice President Martin Kreis cautiously pointed out on Wednesday that Berliners are used to being treated in their own neighborhood. In the future, patients will have to get used to thinking about inpatient care beyond their district.


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