Health Targets in Germany

A highly devolved health system like the German one needs to be strongly oriented towards common targets in order to be able to meet new challenges and tackle new health risks with coordinated strategies. Health targets are a steering instrument that can give a pluralistic health system the common objectives it needs and contribute effectively to the quality of preventative and curative medicine and rehabilitation and the economical use of resources. Moreover, health targets are an important platform on which the different partners and players both within and without the health system can collaborate, especially in the field of health promotion.

Since 1997, the GVG committee "Medical Orientation in the Health Sector" has dealt with quality and target dimensions in the health system. The committee has drawn up a paper on criteria for the definition of health targets and proposed a procedure to define health targets. Since December 2000, concrete health targets with concrete implementation strategies have been developed exemplarily on this basis within the framework of health-targets.de.

At the same time, the Länder set out to define health targets, too. This initiative resulted in the resolution of the Health Ministers’ Conference in 1999, which has declared itself in favour of a further development of health targets and priority fields of action as a basis for target-oriented health policies, in order to meet the new challenges and health threats, and pursuing coordinated strategies. The Health Ministers’ Conference confirmed the importance of health targets in its resolution in 2006.