Whether it’s rehabilitation, physiotherapy or the care sector – digitization continues to transform healthcare processes. REHACARE.com took a closer look at the latest up-and-coming projects and developments and examined their opportunities.
Digitization offers relief and transparency for both health care staff and patients.
From prototype to market-ready product – at the eCare Theme Day and at the booths in the exhibition halls interested trade fair visitors met innovative minds that reinvent and advance digital solution. At REHACARE 2019, startups in Digitization and care showcased the opportunities provided by digital helpers.
Yet even large, experienced companies recognize the potential of digitization. Examples include the opta data Group, which recently became a majority stakeholder in HyCARE GmbH and aims to combine valuable know-how, especially as it pertains to the care sector. The companies plan to join forces to expand and modernize care facility services and work on joint solutions.
Digitization already adds value to the healthcare sector in many European countries. "For companies, digitization considerably eases the burden on the medical staff, which is a key factor, especially since the sector faces a shortage of skilled healthcare workers," says Andreas Fischer, one of the managing directors of the opta data Gruppe. "It also provides greater transparency and efficiency to patients and speeds up treatment. New tools such as the use of telemedicine or video consultations between patients and physicians can streamline processes, save time and money, and benefit patients and care providers." Find out what Andreas Fischer and Mark Steinbach have to say about the challenges and opportunities of a comprehensive approach to digitization in this sector in our latest REHACARE.com interview.
Digitization in general and projects such as QPATH4MS in particular can help to make treatments more efficient and, for example, make health data directly available from other specialists.
Professor Werner Esswein, Chair of Information Systems, esp. Systems Development at TU Dresden knows that patients want digitization and have realistic expectations on how this might work. "Technical interfaces, which still dominated the debate in the 2000s, have now been replaced by the creation of sustainable digital business models that can be implemented in the health care system," says Esswein. He points out that the implementation of digitization projects still requires a lot of patience and perseverance, as hospitals and the overall system often still need to strike a new path.
Professor Esswein is currently involved in the QPATH4MS (pathway-based quality management in MS care) research project. Active patient involvement is a key criterion from the get-go – and highlighted in our REHACARE.com article. "Projects like these that help with tasks of daily living are especially important when it comes to illnesses that affect mobility," says Maria O.* who is committed to this project in her role as an expert patient. Karla W. also attests that those who are personally affected by disease have better insights into how others feel in the same situation. They also know what to expect from a digital solution – especially when digitization has not been an important part of their life until now.
For those who live with MS, digitization offers many care opportunities because it paves the way to personalized treatment. "It is conceivable to provide access to learning contents that are tailored to patients and the respective disease progression," says Dr. Hannes Schlieter from the Technical University (TU) Dresden, who is also involved in the QPATH4MS research project. "Prevention will also be more important than ever, as digital apps can facilitate risk prediction, thus connecting the first and second healthcare market."
Schlieter is certain that the opportunities of digitization will soon also spill over to the rehabilitation sector. Ventures like the vCare Project will continue to take rehabilitation closer to home – complemented by digital helpers who assist and guide the patients in their exercises.
Whether it’s the rehabilitation of tomorrow or (home) care – digitization continues to advance boldly and is highly likely to also unfold its true potential in these areas. Combined with qualified experts and proper training, digital solutions can help simplify the lives of people with different disabilities and improve self-determination.
* = Editor’s note: Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.