Why are we running this project?

The “Neustart!” initiative is motivated by the desire to provide impulses for a health care system viable for the next 20 years. Everybody in Germany should continue to have access to at least the health services they need.
Unfortunately, this is not a given, as our health care system is facing dramatic challenges: a shortage of skilled staff, digitalization, the effects of urbanization, questions of future funding, and quality in health care in view of an aging society. All of these issues can only be resolved with new solutions. It is becoming obvious that the goal of good health care for all will require major, structural reforms of the health care system that go beyond all previous reform and development efforts.

The goal is to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages” (United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3). This means making even greater efforts to focus on the actual needs of citizens and patients and counteract the current overprovision, underprovision, and misprovision of care. It also means linking preventive and health-promoting activities effectively with the medical and health care sector and preventing health inequalities among the population. Finally, it means designing our health care system in a way that is more open to innovation and allows it to implement innovations swiftly and safely to improve care for all. The need for effective change, a true fresh start, in our health care system is becoming increasingly evident—to ensure that everybody in Germany will continue to receive the people-oriented health services they need in the future.

What are our goals?

“Neustart!” aims to provide the space and opportunities to outline a new structure and advancements of our health care system, which are boldly geared toward a desirable future. Based on in-depth exchanges with citizens, in cooperation with experts, and discussion events with the (professional) public, we want to develop clear and visionary proposals for reform over the next two years. These proposals should encourage debate, however uncomfortable, initiate appropriate changes, and drive reform activities.

How does the project work?

With the combination of three parallel activities—expert working groups, exchanges with citizens, and health policy panels—we want to initiate an open debate that goes beyond established ways of thinking and proposes bold ideas for the future of our health care system.

The “Neustart!” Think Labs bring together experts to discuss their ideas and existing knowledge with a view to changing our health care system for the future. Based on a desirable vision, they will reflect on the essential aspects and then develop proposals for reorganizing the health care system. In doing so, they will explicitly include citizens’ wishes.

The initiative focuses on the views and needs of the general public. At dialog-based events, people have the opportunity to express their wishes, ideas, and suggestions for good health care and, in a second round, to evaluate the proposals developed by the experts. Their evaluations and findings from these dialog-based events are then discussed by the experts and incorporated into the health care reform proposals.

Health policy panels provide a platform for discussing different aspects of future health care with the professional public. Once again, we want these events to be a little more controversial than usual and provide bold, new perspectives.

Our partner in drafting and consolidating the scientific expertise is the Hertie School of Governance, which will co-host the Think Labs for experts. In addition, we are endowing the new Chair of Health Governance at the Hertie School of Governance. This chair will focus on the future-oriented control and management of health care systems in Germany, Europe, and beyond.