Telemedicine

From Parkinson’s disease therapy to stroke treatment – telemedicine’s long journey to acceptance in standard health care

The German Telemedicine Portal lists a total of 169 telemedicine projects in the country. The range of items covered point to the areas where telemedicine is helping improve health care delivery and close gaps in the healthcare sector. However, many projects fail to develop beyond the pilot phase to become part of standard care. Indeed, Germany currently features a patchwork quilt of telemedicine. Last year, we took a closer look at four pioneering projects, examining the key factors driving their success. In the coming weeks, individual representatives of these pioneering projects will be invited to offer their thoughts here in this blog.

National Health Portal

10 theses on plans for a National Health Portal

Increasingly, the internet is the place to go to for health information. One in 20 searches on Google is related to health. More than half of German internet users look for information online about illnesses and treatments at least once a year. However, if the common assumption is to be believed, they usually fail to find what they are looking for in the jungle of information and succeed only in becoming needlessly confused. Or they are confronted with factually inaccurate or misleading information. One proposed solution to this problem is the establishment of a National Health Portal. The German Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) has commissioned the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) to develop a concept for such a portal by the beginning of 2018. Does this idea hold up to scrutiny? Because we would like to offer both constructive and critical input to the German government’s efforts, and after frequent requests for our own opinion in past months, this blog post gathers together our current thoughts on a National Health Portal –in ten theses.

Electronic Health Records

Electronic health records: Acceptance provides the allure

Both treatment providers and patients will only accept an electronic health record (EHR) if it is clearly organized, simple, and easy to use, claims Professor Peter Haas, a medical information scientist at the Dortmund University of Applied Sciences and Arts (Fachhochschule Dortmund), in an expert report on the EHR commissioned by us. In this guest blog post, Professor Haas pointedly describes why acceptance is a crucial success factor for the introduction of an IT solution – in this specific case, the electronic health record, and how it can be achieved.

Data protection

Freedom of information: The extroverted sibling of defensive data protection

Data already circulating in the healthcare system should be used by research and patient information professionals in a more comprehensive and resolute manner; this is the stance taken by the Hamburg-based healthcare expert Prof. Jonas Schreyögg in his guest article on our blog. In a report commissioned by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the extent to which this is legally permissible – and perhaps even necessary – is taken up by two Regensburg-based law scholars, Thorsten Kingreen and Jürgen Kühling. In their summary, the two authors propose the following course of action: We should begin by ensuring “data transparency” (as stipulated by § 303a-e in Germany’s Social Security Code or SGB V), then facilitate the use of existing comprehensive inpatient data (by ordinance or directive) at the German Institute of Medical Documentation and Information (DIMDI), and then extend (by law) the data volume to include outpatient structural and billing data. This article summarizes the main findings of their expert assessment.

Interview

What does the “digital patient” expect from his or her physician? An appraisal of the patient’s role in digital transformation

What does the “digital patient” expect from his or her physician? How can physicians respond to these expectations? Do people suffering illness really want to to determine their course of action with the help of digital media or is the oft-cited concept of “patient sovereignty” merely an abstraction that has emerged from the discourse on digitalization? The editorial staff at x.press, a magazine for office-based physicians in Germany, has taken our project name to heart and asked us what we think about the role of the patient in digital transformation. Below, we offer the full transcript of the interview. Our key takeaway:  Patients want to be treated well and have a say in their treatment. If there is a technology available that can help in this sense, they expect their physician to use it. And those who readily use digital forms of communication in other parts of their life do not want to have to go in person to the doctor’s office for everything.

Interview
E-Mental-Health und Algorithmen: Dr. Adrian Aguilera im Interview

Digital applications in Psychotherapy: Finding an efficient Blend between the Technology and the Human – An Interview with Dr. Adrian Aguilera

To better involve patients in their therapy, researchers at the Berkeley School of Social Welfare of the University of California have developed an algorithm-based text messaging service. The service is designed to help improving the treatment of depression in members of ethnic minorities and social strata with a lower income. This way, patients are supported with their homework, regular attendance of therapy sessions and medication intake. We have asked Adrian Aguilera, head of the program, about his experiences with using digital support for psychotherapy.

Digital Health Roadmap

Digitization that creates patient benefits: The Digital Health Roadmap delivers concrete recommendations for action and thought-provoking ideas

What will it take for digitization to create benefits for patients? Which conditions require adaptation, which “cultural” barriers must be overcome? The “Digital Health Roadmap” offers stakeholders in the health system thought-provoking input and concrete recommendations of action. Each recommendation has its roots in either the “30 under 40” expert network or findings resulting from our Digital Patient project.

Debate series “Big Data in Healthcare”
Medical Training
Medizin im digitalen Zeitalter

Medicine in the Digital Age – What kinds of skills do physicians need?

The degree to which digital services and technologies can successfully make their way into the realm of healthcare depends not least on the digital proficiency of users themselves. This is yet another issue “The Digital Patient” project has chosen to explore. For example, after examining the results of our study on video consultations, we concluded that new communication techniques should be integrated into the medical training and continuing education of physicians. Starting next week, the University Medical Center Mainz will be the first faculty in Germany to introduce a special curriculum for medical students. We asked the head of the project, PD Dr. Sebastian Kuhn, to describe the scope and goals of this special curriculum.

Electronic Health Records
Elektronische Patientenakten als Basis für (digitales) Behandlungsmanagement

Electronic health records: A central basis for (digital) treatment management

The discussion on the introduction of electronic health records (EHRs) in Germany is in full swing. The Bertelsmann Stiftung aims to add impetus to this debate with an expert report by Professor Peter Haas. Of particular importance here is the conceptual idea of the EHR as a basis for comprehensive treatment management platforms. These EHRs will serve both as a common instrument of service providers and patients, as well as a central instrumental foundation – a hub – for digital process innovation in the healthcare sector. In introducing these records, this mission should be pursued from the very outset