As in all other areas of life, digitization is also finding its way into the healthcare system. At the Healthcare Symposium 2017 on 14 June, experts from various occupational fields discussed how opportunities and challenges can be faced. Everyone agrees that trust is the key to success – and can only be built through clear and transparent communication.
At the end of the Healthcare Symposium organized by the Implement Consulting Group, Dr. Andy Fischer, founder of Medgate, Andrea Rytz, CEO of the Schulthess Klinik and Dr. Jérôme Cosandey, Avenir Suisse discussed the opportunities and challenges of Healthcare 4.0. Aileen Zumstein moderated the lively discussion.
Digitization is fully ongoing, but the status quo is still being maintained in the healthcare sector. The external pressure for change is still too weak. "As an actor, it would probably simply take the courage and confidence to acknowledge the developments and to do pioneering work as a first mover," says Andrea Rytz, "because at the moment developments are limited to support processes; the core business is not significantly affected yet." After all, practical experience for digitization is available – even if it is in the form of best practices from other industries such as finance, aviation or retail.
Improvement of the quality of treatment through more data
One of the great opportunities of the digital patient file is the complete documentation of the patient's medical history. According to Andrea Rytz, this information is essential for the assessment of highly complex cases. "As an institution, it is only possible to evaluate whether a patient can be treated in-house or whether a transfer to a specialized institution is the right solution, if all important information is available. The quality of treatment and patient safety could thus be raised to a new level.
Despite this obvious advantage, the introduction of the new patient documentation system enjoys moderate enthusiasm. The project is progressing slower than expected, and concerns about security and privacy are expressed frequently. Nevertheless, Jérôme Cosandey was optimistic and believes that the project will be implemented. "It is important that the population accepts the new dossier and trusts the system, not how quickly we complete the implementation. Andy Fischer also believes in the need for new documentation and the potential of data collection and analysis. He has hardly any concerns about data protection, because for him compliance with data protection guidelines is part of good practice and work ethics in health care – today and in the future.
Dr. med. Andy Fischer, CEO and Managing Partner Medgate; Andrea Rytz, CEO Schulthess Klinik; Dr. Jérôme Cosandey, Senior Fellow and Head of Research Social Politics Avenir Suisse; Moderator Aileen Zumstein.
Importance of Interpersonal Exchange
He is also convinced that digitization will be a massive catalyst for shifting services from inpatient to outpatient care. This change in the range of offered services will also have an impact on the role models of the actors in the health care system. "We will see what effects this will have on the professional image of doctors - will they, like pilots, become system engineers? A bridge of trust between technology and patient?" One thing is certain for all participants in the discussion - personal contact from person to person will remain indispensable even in times of medicine 4.0.
Rytz is convinced that changes in responsibilities also offer great opportunities; for example, the vertical integration of different training profiles from health professions to create well-rehearsed teams. "If nurses and doctors visit certain modules of their training together, a common understanding and cohesion can develop. She is certain that this relationship of trust can form the basis for innovative solutions to tasks that previously seemed unsolvable.
Digitization of medicine - Quo vadis?
Digitization, new financing models, cost pressure, highly complex patient cases due to an aging population – the healthcare system is facing major challenges and changes. What impact will this have on today's players in the market? For Cosandey, it is clear that in the long term only those providers will be successful who know how to embed their services in the care process and who strive for integrated care for patients. "However, the knowledge about this does not lie within innovative tech start-ups, but within traditional providers – so it is up to them".
Healthcare 4.0 is unstoppable. Now it is essential for all actors how this is dealt with. Trust between those involved can only be maintained and built on if clear and transparent communication is practiced - from patients and doctors to hospitals and industrial partners. Only by doing so, it will be possible to take advantage of the opportunities offered by digitization and at the same time actively face the challenges.