I met quite a few utopians at the recent Health-i Awards ceremony in Berlin – a welcome change to talk to people who believe in modern medicine.
We are all challenged when it comes to communication: How do I personally benefit from the electronic patient file, for example?
At the event, I listened enthusiastically to founding teams that are developing new solutions to advance prevention and humanity with the help of digital technology. Start-ups that develop people-friendly images of algorithms that evaluate data to save lives, safeguard health or relieve nursing staff. Beyond such events, unfortunately, I am seeing a lot of digital health communication talking about the risks before it is clear what the benefits of the digital solution are. The media discussion is dominated by horror stories of nursing homes in which elderly people are left alone with robots. When we’re not conjuring up the Terminator, we like to vent about data protection risks or doubt the infallibility of new solutions. It’s a shame that communication is teeming with naysayers. After all, it doesn’t help progress if we imagine ourselves in dystopias.
How many lives could have been saved if emergency physicians at the scene of an accident had already been able to view previous illnesses, findings and medication across the board? The difficult birth of the introduction of the digital patient file is just one example of the potential in digital health that we run the risk of badmouthing before we have got it on the road.
If opinion leaders talk in pilot projects first about what further increases fears and rejection, then patients or employees in the medical and nursing professions will be less and less willing to try out smart technology. Storytelling would move us forward: Let’s inspire people with stories and make them curious. Digital health requires trial and error. Only if we engage with an open heart and a curious eye will we drive development.