A comment on the digitization of the health care system in Germany and worldwide. By Hermann Kamp, CEO ClinicAll International.
In numerous areas of our life we let ourselves be supported by modern applications. To be honest, I find it helpful, pleasant, saves time, improves communication, simplifies processes, keeps me informed – in short, it improves my everyday life without me feeling cut off, excluded or isolated. With digital apps I can plan my day better, concentrate on what’s important, use time more effectively, not only for myself but for everyone else involved.
Sometimes I ask myself why these new, efficient practices are not seen or ignored in the healthcare industry.
I don’t think I am fussy, but I like to plan things well, because I like to know where I am, what lies ahead, what tasks are involved, what I need to be aware of, what could delay my plans and what the impact would be.
Let me describe a personal example from my life:
I have to take a trip to New York to our office there, my presence is necessary. I have already booked my flight online through the airline’s website. My flight details were automatically transferred to the airline’s app, so I can relax and book my seat, download my digital boarding pass and get more information about the upcoming trip.
All this is done automatically and electronically, the airline has collected my data and confirmed the check-in. So far I don’t waste any time of the staff.
The next morning I check the traffic situation via my mobile phone, I wouldn’t want to get into a traffic jam and maybe miss my flight. At the airport the boarding pass on my mobile phone is scanned and I pass the security check. According to information my flight starts on time and I can send a digital message to New York that everything is going according to plan.
Once I arrive in New York, I send another message and start my way to the office. I`m also able to inform my family about the arrival and stay in constant contact, not to mention flight trackers and other useful apps for third parties.
Surely I could now describe page by page how digital applications make my whole trip more efficient, effective and for me more enjoyable. I’m sure each and every one of you knows what I’m talking about. We all know this experience and use apps in the background, now quite often without realizing it, it’s part of our daily routine.
What was it like in the past without digital support? Let’s take the same journey back in 1992. Back then it was an immense effort compared to today. And with a lot of luck after immigration and heavy traffic, I was able to inform my family about my arrival about three hours after touchdown at the earliest – at absurd telephone rates from the landline in the hotel, not to mention waiting colleagues in the office. I think we are all aware of how digitalization positively influences our lives: it doesn’t change my lifestyle, but it helps immensely.
But are these new, improved processes similar if I should fall ill?
I would like many processes to be just as simple in the event of illness. Depending on the severity of an illness and the simultaneous fear of consequences, it would be a blessing for me to be able to work through all the necessary but annoying matters as quickly and easily as possible. I think that’s how most people feel.
But when I think about the health care system: Where are all the digital supports I know from my normal life? Why can’t I use applications to do many things, so that I don’t strain my health any further?
Very often, I am told in conversations with people in charge of the health sector that there is no investment capital available, and data protection is often mentioned as a second issue.
I do not see this logic. How much more efficiently and effectively could patients be treated through digital support, how much time could be saved and therefore better used, by doctors, nurses, insurance companies, pharmacies and many other stakeholders in the health sector.
Even outside the digital patient file, there are many intelligent, digital applications that can simply simplify our lives – for our greatest asset, our health.
In fact, I go one step further: my health data is probably no more insecure than data in my biometric ID card, data about my travels to many countries around the world, and my fingerprints and photos that I keep giving out.
Should I fall ill abroad, I would welcome the opportunity to offer the doctors there exactly the data that would reduce possible incorrect treatment to a minimum. The most perfect patient care is the most important thing for me.
It is difficult for me to understand and accept the actions of those in charge of health care. What is there to be afraid of, the discovery of human error? Couldn’t investments in healthcare be made more sensibly? I think that once you do the math, you might find that without digitalisation a lot of money is wasted. It will never be possible to abolish the healthcare system, it is an integral part of every state. So why not make it more efficient? The investment volume does not have to be changed, but it can be used more efficiently, also in favor of the staff, without reducing them.
Most of all, digital technology will support the care staff all over the world. SARS-CoV-2 has clearly shown us the dramatic and immense burden on doctors and nursing staff, as well as the gaps in the system. What needs to happen before we start thinking smarter? Digitization is an important link to connect better and be closer to each other.
© PatientCareNews.com, Author: Hermann Kamp, CEO ClinicAll International