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.

Denmark: A national portal as a first point of contact for citizens

In the interview Jakob Uffelmann, Director of Innovation at, reports on how the Danish portal became a success story, how data protection is ensured, and what future services for citizens and patients will look like.

The interview was recorded on June 7, 2018.

The Netherlands: Patients as partners in the treatment process

In the Netherlands, patients can opt-in to a system of electronic data exchange – and hence profit from an e-health infrastructure that is considerably well developed. In the Skype interview Dr. Lies van Gennip, Director of NICTIZ, tells us how the Dutch system is designed and what experiences the country has made so far. She emphasizes the importance of placing the patient at the centre of the system and predicts a change in the reality of care towards more online contact and the home as the hub of healthcare.

The interview was recorded on June 7, 2018.

Switzerland: Electronic patient records need to be more than a poorly operable library

Switzerland is on its way to implement the Electronic Dossier (EPD) for the hospital sector. For patients and doctors the use of the EPD is voluntary. Dr. med. Yvonne Gilli, head of the digitization and E-Health Department at the Swiss Medical Association FMH (Foederatio Medicorum Helveticorum), tells us in a Skype interview what the EPD can offer for patients and doctors. She emphasizes that digitalisation is a timely means, but not necessarily “a fairy that can grant wishes”. Interoperability, structured information and a new culture of communication are necessary to make the EPD more than just “a poorly operable library”.

The interview was recorded on June 26, 2018.

Estonia: The digital transformation in healthcare requires clear decision-making structures and the trust of citizens

In the interview Dr. Madis Tiik, family doctor and digital health expert, explains that e-prescription and electronic patient files have been legally mandatory in Estonia for more than a decade. In addition, citizens can view their personal health data, obtain information about illnesses or book medical appointments online via the national health information portal. The former CEO of the Estonian eHealth Foundation stresses the importance of clear responsibilities and a specific organisation for the implementation of digital health processes. At its core, the trust of citizens through maximum transparency and a secure national infrastructure were crucial for Estonia’s success.

The interview was recorded on February 18, 2019.

Canada: Consistent promotion of user acceptance as a crucial strategic task

Dr. Jennifer Zelmer, President and CEO of the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement, explains in the interview that new e-health services will be successful if they address the needs of citizens and healthcare professionals, and are in turn perceived as valuable clinical support. In Canada, acceptance of new technologies has been systematically promoted through targeted user involvement and awareness campaigns. For Dr. Zelmer, the resulting engagement of citizens and medical professionals constitutes a key factor for the successful digitalisation process in Canada.

The interview was recorded on March 19, 2019.

All study contents and an interactive map can be found at:


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