Obtaining external scientific expertise

In preparation for its decisions, the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) can order external scientific expertise.

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG)

The IQWiG is a functionally independent scientific institute that supports the G-BA in carrying out its statutory responsibilities by submitting scientific recommendations. The institute was founded in 2004 as part of the Healthcare Reform Act as a facility for quality and efficiency in healthcare.

The legal basis for the establishment, responsibilities, and workflows of the IQWiG are found in SGB V, section 139a-c.

The focus of the institute’s work is on:

  • Researching, presenting, and evaluating the current status of medical knowledge of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures for selected diseases
  • Preparing scientific reviews, expert opinions, and statements on issues of quality and cost-effectiveness of benefits paid by statutory health insurance
  • Evaluating evidence-based directives for diseases of high epidemiological significance
  • Providing recommendations on disease management programmes (DMPs)
  • Benefit assessment and pharmaceutical costs
  • Providing general information on quality and efficiency in healthcare in a form understandable by the general population, as well as on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of epidemiological significance
  • Involvement in international cooperation and development projects in the field of evidence-based medicine

Graphical depiction of the collaboration between the G-BA and IQWiG (156.5 kB)

Institute for Quality Assurance and Efficiency in Health Care (IQTIG)

The IQTIG is a functionally independent scientific institute that works on quality assurance measures and presenting the quality of healthcare measures by order of the G-BA. The IQTIG is financed by a private foundation established by the G-BA.

The legal basis for the founding, responsibilities, and workflows of the IQTIG are found in SGB V, section 137a. This section was revised following the passage of the Further Development of Financial Structures and Quality in Statutory Health Insurance Act (in German: Gesetz zur Weiterentwicklung der Finanzstruktur und der Qualität in der gesetzlichen Krankenversicherung, GKV-FQWG). In accordance with the former wording of SGB V, section 137a, the G-BA used to be supported by the Institute for Applied Quality Support and Research in the Healthcare Sector (AQUA Institute) in quality assurance matters from 2009-2015.

The G-BA contracts the IQTIG in particular with:

  • Developing risk-adjusted indicators and instruments for quality of care, whenever possible coordinated across sectors, including modules for supplementary patient surveys for the measurement and depiction of quality of care
  • Developing necessary documentation for quality assurance in various types of facilities, following the principle of data economy
  • Participating in cross-facility quality assurance, involving further facilities in accordance with section 137a, paragraph 1, sentence 3 as needed
  • Publishing the results of the quality assurance measures in a form that is suitable and understandable for the general public
  • Drafting comparative, facility-specific, risk-adjusted quality overviews in relevant areas of inpatient care based on suitable data published in hospital quality reports, and publishing these on the internet in a form that is understandable for the general public
  • Depicting the quality of outpatient and inpatient care also on the basis of suitable social data forwarded to the institute by the statutory health insurance funds in accordance with SGB V, section 299, paragraph 1a, based on G-BA directives and resolutions, for the further development of quality assurance for selected services
  • Developing criteria for the assessment of certificates and quality seals common in outpatient and inpatient care and, based on these criteria, providing information on the validity of these certificates and quality seals in a form that is understandable for the general public

Off-label expert panel at the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM)

Currently at the BfArM, three expert panels have been established in the fields of oncology, neurology/psychiatry, and internal medicine. These panels forward recommendations on the most up-to-date scientific knowledge regarding the off-label use of certain medicinal products for implementation in the Pharmaceutical Directive.