More Time for Each Person

Opportunities of Digitisation in Health and Social Care

In a world that is becoming increasingly digital, the conventional players in health and social care are in danger of being left further and further behind. While the traditional institutions are struggling with growing cost pressures and a shortage of skilled workers as well as with numerous legislative changes, social start-ups are on the rise not only in the USA but in Germany too. Digital platforms such as Pflegix and VeyoPflege put those needing care and their relatives into direct contact with registered nurses. Other social start-ups like Apeiros or ReDi School are focused on the education or the integration of refugees. Start-ups are thus frequently taking on tasks that the overstretched welfare state can no longer perform.

Traditional health and social care organisations must not shy away from digital transformation if they wish to boost their productivity and comply with the plethora of increasingly stringent documentation and record-keeping requirements. Yet many managers dread the thought of addressing topics relating to digitisation. However, the benefits of digital processes are obvious:

  • They are more efficient and more transparent. Even complex data analyses, such as the monitoring of staffing ratios, are possible at any time thanks to digital technologies.
  • Executive managers can keep track of the financial situation and thereby protect their positions because financial difficulties are identified in plenty of time.
  • Investments can be appraised and financed with various scenarios taken into account.
  • Documentation requirements become a lot easier to comply with on location. The day’s visits can be logged on the move using an app. Inconvenient, time-consuming detours via an office computer are therefore no longer necessary.
  • Digitised services such as anonymous online consultations have lower thresholds than face-to-face contact, so they can reach more people seeking help.

Digital processes are a smart response to the shortage of nursing staff. However, digitisation above all gives social care workers the opportunity to focus on what really matters to them: helping the sick and people in need. Or, as Professor Detlev Ganten, honorary chairman of the Charité Foundation’s board of trustees and president of the World Health Summit, aptly put it in an interview with the trade journal KPMG Gesundheitsbarometer a few months ago: “Financial management is a major issue in this context. The available resources must be deployed sensibly. Any wastefulness will lead to shortages elsewhere, which is why the quality of the treatment must always have due regard for the costs as well. The priority is to provide each patient with appropriate care that meets modern standards.”

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