Digitization for Health

Whereas all healthcare stakeholders agree that digitization is changing their field, there are many different views regarding the opportunities and limits inherent to this trend. Through its Digital Patient program, the Bertelsmann Stiftung offers studies, strategic action plans and forums for debate to help promote the development of technology in service to healthcare.

Foto Uwe Schwenk
Uwe Schwenk

Digitization is infusing our lives with a new, more rapid rhythm. As a megatrend, it is changing how we live as it alters the formats and processes by which we make decisions in all aspects of life – healthcare included. Countless numbers of digital health startups have emerged in recent years, major technology companies are rushing to enter the health market, and regional pilot projects are testing the potential of telemedicine. On a near weekly basis, there are media reports of new health apps and the benefits of Big Data in medicine or e-health cards. Reporting on these issues often paints images of digital technology ushering in a fundamental transformation or even revolution in healthcare.

But what are the actual opportunities and risks inherent to this development? Which technologies offer patients and medical professionals a genuine added value? What impact do they have on the role of patients and medical professionals? And on their relationship to each other?

Emphasizing the benefits for patients

With the Digital Patient program, the Bertelsmann Stiftung explores the effects of digitization on healthcare and its sociopolitical impact in particular. Weighing the risks against the benefits of this development and identifying effective strategies – rather than what is technically feasible – are at the heart of the project. The project objective is to promote what’s best for patients and society.

We aim to promote digitization in service to healthcare.

Uwe Schwenk, Program Director, Bertelsmann Stiftung

The project’s four themes

In addition to conducting studies and providing strategic action plans on diverse issues in healthcare, the project aims to promote dialogue between diverse stakeholders through a variety of formats. These activities address four subject areas:

  • Telematics infrastructure and the e-healthcard: the role of citizens
  • Healthcare competency in the digital age
  • Innovation transfer in standard medical care
  • Big data and predictive medicine