Communication in medicine, CIM for short, is the standard for exchanging medical data using the telematics infrastructure (TI). The use of CIM for transferring electronic referrals (eArztbrief) is relevant for reimbursement and mandatory for electronic certificates of incapacity (eAU) as of this year. However, what is much more interesting for routine work in healthcare are the optional applications—such as easily sending treatment-relevant information across sectors.
Perhaps it was the less than snappy name, perhaps it was the few obvious benefits. Regardless of why, KOM-LE was not all that popular with agents in healthcare. First, the change of name to CIM, the convenience signature, and concrete (mandatory) applications were introduced by the TI-compliant communication platform to healthcare facilities. And that is also appropriate because CIM offers true added value for users in healthcare across facilities and sectors.
Simple and secure
CIM is structured and functions like a traditional e-mail address that is used by everyone. However, unlike private e-mail accounts, CIM cannot be accessed by everyone and information is sent signed and encrypted.
The requirement for creating a CIM account is being an authorized service provider or an institution such as an insurance provider. This limitation makes it clear: CIM is not an instrument for communication with patients but is instead intended exclusively for the exchange of information between medical professionals. Authorized CIM users include physicians, dentists, psychotherapists, pharmacists, and insurance providers but also physiotherapists, rehabilitation, and care facilities as well as midwives. CIM provides them with the opportunity to fill in gaps in communication that still develop along the path of medical treatment.
A example: if a patient needs a new knee, the radiologist can send the results to the orthopedist through CIM. In turn, the orthopedist sends his or her own report to the hospital, the hospital sends the discharge report, implant number, and rehabilitation recommendations to the orthopodist who in turn sends all relevant information to the physiotherapist. This creates—theoretically—a closed circle of information that prevents duplicate examinations as well as inappropriate or wasteful therapy approaches. The result is an increase in the quality of care and a reduction in costs borne by the healthcare system.
Gradual conversion to digital information exchange
To date, there is only one mandatory use for CIM: the transfer of electronic certificates of incapacity to insurance providers from October 1, 2021. In the medium term, other documents that until now have had to be carried by patients from A to B will also be “CIM compatible”.
CIM will thus replace analog structures piece by piece and provide a freer flow of information. For healthcare facilities that have not yet had to be part of TI, CIM is therefore a strong argument for connecting to the TI. From a technical perspective, setting up CIM accounts is relatively simple. The requirement is, however, a connection to the TI via the appropriate hardware (connector). There are now several providers with various address and data packages. Which provider is appropriate also depends on how many accounts are needed and the anticipated volume of data that will be transferred.
CGM: Biggest CIM account provider
CompuGroup Medical (CGM) was the first company to introduce CIM accounts to the market more than a year ago. CGM is now one of the biggest providers for the communication platform—both in the medical area and for insurance providers. The success of the accounts is due not only to the mature technology but also the attractive package prices for addresses and data volume.
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