It’s all about transparency and user-friendly solutions

The first Sciana meeting at the Bosch Health Campus brought together experts from various healthcare sectors from all over Germany to promote interdisciplinary and cross-sector exchange. The most important topic was digitalization in the healthcare sector.

Bosch Health Campus | May 2024
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Björn Hänssler

The secure, correct and mutually beneficial handling of digital patient data in the healthcare sector is of concern to politicians as well as researchers, patient representatives, healthcare institutions, health insurance companies and businesses. It is therefore necessaryto exchange ideas across sector boundaries and develop good solutions. With this reason in mind the two-day meeting of Sciana Fellows and representatives of the Bosch Health Campus focused primarily on digitalization in the healthcare sector.

Dietmar Schulz, who as CIO is currently setting up the data infrastructure at the Bosch Health Campus, emphasized the challenges that arise from the implementation of the “Hospital Future Act” (Krankenhauszukunftsgesetz), all of which  require careful consideration. Prof. Dr. Oliver Opitz, Head of the Bosch Digital Innovation Hub (BDIH), reported on the plans to test the intersectoral use of data in the new PORT health center, which is currently under construction at the Bosch Health Campus. It is hoped that by using data in this new care context and ambitious way health services can be better integrated, ultimately providing an optimized patient experience. Current BDIH projects such as “ROUTINE” and “Clinnova” are also helping to increase digital skills among the population and create greater acceptance.

Dr. Ingrid Wünning Tschol, Head of the Robert Bosch Center for Innovative Health (RBIH), presented her strategy and the Center's current activities, which are are direct response to the challenges of demographic change. Innovative approaches to prevention and inclusive primary care across sector boundaries are being tested in pilot projects at the Bosch Health Campus. The opportunities provided through digitalization play a central role in their development and implementation.

The information helps doctors to understand you as a patient better so we can decide together what should happen next.

A recurring point in the discussions was that digital data must be user-friendly and the benefits for patients more strongly emphasized, so that they can get the most out of it. Birgit Bauer, Sciana Fellow, patient expert and founder and project coordinator of the Data Saves Lives Germany initiative, emphasized that many people living with illness, especially younger generations, already use digital health apps (DiGA) regularly. These patients  are also willing to share their data – as long as they are aware of the potential benefits and are offered something in return, such as to receive new findings about their own illness in an understandable form at an early stage. “This helps to make decisions regarding certain therapies and in planning next steps. The information also helps doctors to understand you as a patient better so we can  decide together what should happen next,” explains Birgit Bauer. Another advantage could be that people use the digital health apps for better disease management, thus improving their health literacy and quality of life at the same time.

Transparency and information are the decisive factors in the use of data when winning people's trust. According to Birgit Bauer this also includes, above all, clear communication about the intended use of the data.

In this context, Danish healthcare expert and co-chair of Sciana’s fourth cohort Bogi Eliasen warned of the potential exploitation of healthcare data by large technology companies if healthcare policy does not actively take responsibility, and soon. Adding, that cooperation between public and private institutions based on ethical principles is essential. Tobias Gantner, founder of The HealthCare Futurists, raised the idea of what would actually happen if private individuals recognized the value of their health data and began to market it themselves. A subject that clearly needs further discussion.

The meeting ended with an exchange on the topic of secondary prevention. Here it became clear once again that networking across sectors and policy areas is necessary in order to improve the healthcare system and ultimately everyone's health.