The future of
Digitalization is rapidly revolutionizing the health care system. Scientists are currently conducting research into treatments that, until recently, sounded like something out of a science fiction movie. Let’s take a look at the opportunities and risks of the digital revolution in medicine.
Scientists, doctors, politicians, IT experts, ethicists, and patient representatives must work together to ensure full use of all the opportunities digitalization offers and make progress while also minimizing the risks.
We need to talk about exactly what digital responsibility can look like. No one individual can decree it – no one company, no one institution, no one government. We can only develop digital responsibility together.
In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic brought public life to a virtual standstill for weeks on end. In some areas, however, the virus made things move faster, and that includes the digitalization of the health care system. According to a study conducted in spring 2020 by the Health Innovation Hub of Germany’s Federal Ministry of Health and the Public Health Foundation, 52.3 percent of doctors surveyed offered video consultations. This compares with a figure of just 1.8 percent in 2017. Psychotherapists, physicians in private practice, and general practitioners are making particular use of such consultations.
SDG 3 – HEALTH
With our e-health solutions, we are helping to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3 of the United Nations.
Digital solutions for the health system
From hospital management systems and telemedicine platforms to electronic health cards and the Corona-Warn-App for contact tracing, Deutsche Telekom offers a whole host of solutions for the health care system.
Deutsche Telekom’s intelligent hospital system iMedOne was already installed in 230 hospitals in 2020.
Everything is connected …
Nobody likes going to hospital, especially when medical staff are overworked and there are long waiting times. By supporting these staff, intelligent hospital systems such as iMedOne from Deutsche Telekom can help improve patient care. By the end of 2019, iMedOne was already installed in some 230 hospitals, where it allows all key processes to be digitized. Treatment and patient data is shared via secure data networks, is available to all treating physicians and care staff at the touch of a button on the iMedOne Mobile app, and does not get lost.
The Internet of Things is also making its way into hospitals. Medical equipment such as ventilators and ECG devices are equipped with transmitters so that everyone always knows exactly where they are currently being used. That simplifies procedures – in the emergency room, for example.
According to a survey, 52 percent of Germans are willing to share personal information via the electronic health card.
All on one card …
Most of us already have one in our wallets: the electronic health card. It stores our insurance master data. Since 2019, emergency information and a medication plan have also been stored on this card. Electronic prescriptions and other health data are potential further inclusions for the future. Since 2019, Deutsche Telekom has been offering medical staff a starter package for outpatient and inpatient care. It enables them to connect to the nationwide IT infrastructure for the health card. The complete package contains everything a practice or hospital needs for a secure connection to the infrastructure. In 2019, telemedicine applications for aftercare of stroke patients were also connected to the telematics infrastructure for the first time. All products are subject to the rigorous review of the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) or approval from gematik (Gesellschaft für Telematikanwendungen der Gesundheitskarte mbH), a company dealing with the application of telematics in the public health system.
“Comprehensive digital access to patient information while complying with the strict health data protection regulations is the basic prerequisite for the digitalization of the healthcare system.”
Dirk Hoffmann, product owner of the electronic medication plan at Deutsche Telekom
Not knowing where you are or no longer being able to find your way to the baker’s is a fate suffered by many people with dementia. We developed the Sea Hero Quest video game to help with dementia research by collecting anonymous data relating to spatial orientation. The game recorded players’ navigation behavior as they negotiated virtual swamps and arctic ice floes. During the project, which ran from 2016 to 2019, over 4.3 million people worldwide clocked up a total of more than 117 years of playing time. This collected more research data than would ever have been possible using conventional methods.
The all-important web
Fast, high-performance internet access is essential for digitizing health care, so we are investing billions in network expansion every year. 5G , the new mobile communications standard offers tremendous potential. Thanks to the high-performance and failsafe internet connections, data can be transmitted in real time – a key factor, especially in emergencies. The technology is already being used in the 5G campus network at the University Hospital Bonn (UKB). Coverage for several hospital buildings is ensured through the use of indoor antennas. For instance, X-ray and MRT images are quickly and securely transmitted to various sites at the University Hospital Bonn via the 5G network. As a result, everyone has access to the information without any loss of time. You can read more about network expansion here.
To encourage dialog about digital ethics in society, we have founded the Forum for Digital Ethics in Berlin – a platform for the general public and experts from the worlds of science, business, and politics to talk about digital responsibility. The forum includes activities such as workshops for students and senior citizens. There is also a hands-on exhibition explaining AI in a way that is clear and easy to understand.
In 2018, we were one of the first companies in the world to set our own guidelines for the ethical use of AI. They provide clear guidance for our developers and designers, but also our suppliers and partners. You can find out more about AI here.
In 2020, we launched the MyHealth Journey program for mental strength. It includes various offerings such as webinars, online meditations, podcasts or lecture recordings on the topic of mindfulness.
Digital health programs at Deutsche Telekom
In addition to developing solutions for medical practices and hospitals, we also offer Deutsche Telekom staff digital health services such as apps telling them about nutrition or how to prevent headaches. In 2020, we launched the MyHealth Journey program for mental strength. A variety of options – such as webinars, online meditation sessions, podcasts, and recorded talks about mindfulness – help our staff improve their health and find the right balance. Further details about our health programs for staff are available here.
24 hours a day, 365 days a year: Telekom's Cyber Defense Center and Security Operation Center (SOC) in Bonn never sleeps.