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Three health insurance companies are now offering an Internet portal for doctors as part of their supply contracts, for the economic optimisation of outpatient care in the field of parenteral nutrition. The online portal would provide a proposal for the composition and amount of parenteral nutrition to provide, depending upon which characteristics of the patient it is provided with. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährungsmedizin (DGEM), however, has major concerns. It fears that an online portal does not take into account the individual needs of each patient, and so the recommendation it makes will not always be the optimal composition for that particular patient.

The interests of health insurance companies here are the provision of specialist technical support, but also to encourage doctors to practice more efficient regulation. As long as the information is neutral and with no relation to the product, nothing can be objected.

However, the concerns of DGEM cannot be ignored. With a standardised input and selection service, the individual needs of patients may not be met. Nevertheless, it must be remembered that ultimately, the final decision on treatment is the responsibility of the doctor.

Overall, there is a trend developing: health insurance companies are trying different ways to influence the regulations and processes of doctors. The industry is thus required to do something to counter, otherwise sooner or later they will lose influence over prescribers, especially the big producers Hersteller Baxter, Fresenius and B.Braun. The question is, is this the right strategy?

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