Dr. Thomas Kostera

Dr. Thomas Kostera

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Learning health systems: Can tech giants link everyday care with research?

Thanks to their vast resources, the tech giants have the capacity to collect and analyze massive amounts of data. This poses major ethical challenges to independent research as well as to the principles of justice and solidarity. But if we effectively address these challenges, big tech’s activities bear enormous potential in driving forward the development of an innovative learning health system. A team led by ethicist Prof. Christiane Woopen conducted a close analysis of the various perspectives involved and potential approaches to be pursued for the Foundation.  

How the tech giants are changing the healthcare profession

Whether it is creating software solutions for use in analyzing MRI images, systems designed to optimize bed utilization rates or applications to help with monitoring patients’ vital signs or making treatment decisions, the tech giants are a powerful driver of digitalization processes in healthcare. The innovative solutions delivered by Siemens, IBM and others have great potential to improve patient care. However, these innovations also bring about a number of changes to healthcare as a profession, presenting it with several challenges. Ethicist Prof. Christiane Woopen and a team of researchers have explored these issues in detail, presenting them in a study conducted on our behalf.  

“I’ve always been concerned about the considerable power that the tech giants have” – an interview with Christiane Woopen

What areas of healthcare are seeing increasing activity on the part of the global tech companies? How can their products and services help improve medicine?  And what are the challenges arising from the activities of these tech giants? Together with her team of researchers, ethics professor Christiane Woopen conducted on behalf of the Stiftung a comprehensive study of tech giants in the healthcare sector. In the following interview, Christiane Woopen discusses the impact of digital transformation on the field. Identifying the various opportunities and risks at hand, the ethicist calls for the government to issue a clear policy position and for a broad social debate on what role the tech giants should play in the healthcare system.  

Cooperation and consensus building as key components of the Swedish e-health Vision 2025 – An interview with Erik Frisk on Digital Health in Sweden

In our #SmartHealthSystems study, we analyzed 17 countries on the state of digitization in healthcare. As our country report shows, Sweden is among those countries that decided very early on to adopt a strong comprehensive digitization strategy. Its systematic implementation has resulted in Sweden having one of the most advanced digital health systems. With its e-Health Vision 2025 Sweden aims at becoming the “best in the world at using the opportunities offered by digitization and eHealth”. In an interview, Erik Frisk, International Coordinator of the Swedish eHealth Agency (E-hälsomyndigheten), explains the importance of coordinating digital health efforts as well as of developing new digital health services. He underlines that cooperation and consensus building are key components for the implementation of Sweden’s e-Health Vision 2025.

Tried and tested: How other healthcare systems are shaping digital change – our Skype interviews at a glance

How can digitalisation succeed in the healthcare sector? What are key success factors and which hurdles need to be overcome? As part of our #SmartHealthSystems study, we spoke to several international experts about their experiences in a series of Skype interviews. The experts report on their practical experience and provide a variety of insights into aspects that are currently being discussed in Germany. Here is an overview of the conducted interviews.

“We need to discuss what we expect from a digital healthcare system” – an interview with Christiane Woopen

In which areas of healthcare are algorithms applied – both today and in the future? How can they improve medical care? And what are new challenges that arise from their implementation? On behalf of the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the research center ceres at the University of Cologne has carried out a review and analysis of algorithms in digital healthcare. In an interview, Prof. Christiane Woopen, head of the research group, explains where she sees the greatest disruptive potential in the use of algorithms in healthcare.With a view to the various opportunities and risks, the ethicist demands that we, as a society, have to discuss what price we want to pay for digital progress,  how we create trust and how we maintain solidarity in the healthcare system. In short, how do we want to shape digitalization in the healthcare system?