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Leveraging a Digital Strategy to Achieve Better Healthcare

German Expert Panel Findings

Turn Data into Information that Provides Insights and Enables Critical Decisions

With recent innovations like electronic patient records, digital health applications, telemedicine, and new legislation, the digital transformation of health care in Germany is speeding up. Healthcare organizations need a future-proof, digital data management strategy that can create added value for users in hospitals and medical practices, and for patients via interoperability. At the same time, this data must be shared efficiently without compromising security.

On March 25, 2021, industry insiders from medicine, hospital IT, industry and consulting discussed the challenges and opportunities through the online expert panel How to Leverage Digital Strategy on the Path to Better Healthcare, co-organized by InterSystems Germany.

The key point was that a powerful digital strategy must include at least three levels:

  • First, individual medical facilities, where the aim is to invest in the digitization of the inpatient sector in a smart and future-proof manner.
  • Second, the specific level of care, with service providers and patients digitally networked together to make medical care in a region faster, better, and more convenient for everyone involved.
  • Third, digital strategy must have a nationwide scope that outlines general guidelines for technology, data protection and security, and ultimately, interoperability.

Below is a recap of other key discussion points.

Need for Digitization in Care Delivery Organizations

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear how important it is to react quickly and flexibly to changing healthcare framework conditions. Digital networking in the form of telematics infrastructure, comprehensive patient tools such as electronic patient records, the Internet of Medical Things, mobile sensors, etc. is becoming more and more the focus of decision-makers and users in healthcare organizations, as well as patient management and the need to aggregate and provide high-quality data for research. For hospital IT, building a practical bridge between short-term, agile solutions for data-driven processes and a long-term strategy for standardized data management is critical.

Digitization Strategy at the Facility Level

Hospitals and clinics face many short-term tactical issues, and should try to classify them strategically in the long term. Clinic management must support the digital strategy and view IT as a strategic success factor that can enable new business models in the future.

If an organization wants to achieve true interoperability and data-driven process improvements, then it is important to work from the data backend perspective. In doing so, it quickly recognizes the value of a unified platform: a uniform data repository that can be accessed in a standardized, interoperable manner. All applications bring their data into this platform, which aggregates the data and makes it usable and reliable. This standardized, interoperable granular repository is ultimately the input parameter for any process, present or future.

Effective Healthcare Digitization Use Cases

There are several best practices for the agile digitization of health care, which have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In terms of regional coordination efforts, for example, the Ministry of Health in Veneto, Italy, the Dubai region in the United Arab Emirates and the county of Lincolnshire in England have stood out. All leverage InterSystems solutions to access granular data and gain insights into infection dynamics, development of hotspots, areas that need additional beds or ventilators, and, perhaps most importantly today, where to distribute vaccines.

Digitization Landscape in Germany

There is no question that investing in platforms for the digital management of medical data can improve care structures in Germany. A clear example of a corresponding use case is provided by the purely digital electronic diabetes records that the German Diabetes Society designed together with InterSystems and is currently implementing. The plan is to create a data pool through this program to provide a basis to optimize care for people with diabetes in the future and that prevention, care and research will go hand in hand.

In Germany, the goal is that in 5 years, 80% of medical data will be available in high quality form for population care and for medical research, while maintaining the associated safety requirements. If Germany can achieve this goal, the health system will have taken a large step forward—the course has been set, it is now time to act.

This story originally appeared the HealthShare Connections News Flash No.7 – October 26, 2021

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