The system assesses innovations according to how much money they save, and not according to whether they achieve healingUlrich Pieper
‘The system assesses innovations according to how much money they save, and not according to whether they achieve healing,’ the industrial engineer explains. Precisely for this reason, he adds, the three-day Convention for Innovation and High-Tech in Medicine, to be held in Leipzig from 21 March, is a great attraction. The organiser is confident – the next three years have already been solidly counter-financed. The aim of the event is to look beyond the horizon and motivate the system players to dare to take more risks: ‘Whoever is willing to take risks will take a new approach, open up and dare to venture into unknown realms, such as through collaboration outside the sector.’ In terms of medical technology, the congress will present some surprising findings, which aim to promote interoperability and better networking of processes, as well as to create greater efficiency for patients.
German emergency medicine needs to become professionalised
In the run-up to Xpomet, Dr Timo Schöpke, Director of the Emergency Centre of the Barnim Clinic, describes deficits in German emergency medicine. The processes are too complicated; currently there are endless non-necessities, for example in case reports that have to be transcribed up to six times due to a lack of software interoperability. In this, important proficiencies are lost.
Various emergency care representatives will gather at Xpomet to discuss related issues, among them members of the German Society for Interdisciplinary Emergency and Acute Medicine (DGINA) on the opening day. In addition, undoubtedly the focus will be on the emergency care specialist. ‘In all other European countries it exists, except for us – we lag behind progress in emergency medicine,’ Schöpke asserts. Industry suppliers see a need for action in this area and offer Xpomet solutions that contribute to increasing efficiency with workflow support. In particular, it is a matter of guaranteeing complete data, which in turn makes ‘reliable analyses’ possible. On the one hand, this is intended to relieve the physician’s workload and, on the other, to provide IT support in his or her judgment. ‘Emergency care in Germany must be centralised and professionalised!’ the Xpomet organisers demand. In addition to cross-professional information on continuing education and training, and regulations for the allocation of resources in line with demand, require the digitisation of supply processes.
This question is also addressed within the ‘OP of the future’ showcase, which will show how computer models are used to carry out therapy. At Xpomet, a virtual operating theatre with ‘phantom patient’, will demonstrate how medical technology based on computer models recognises a surgeon’s current surgical stage and calculates the next step in advance.
Patient demands will shape the future
During the event visitors are to be offered ‘mixed reality glasses’ that have been used in surgical procedures recently, when two novel neurosurgical interventions were performed in Germany for the first time in 2017.
Time and again, a central future medicine topic has been the electronic patient record (Article in german). The convention aims encourage this by showing what a smooth data flow could be. In an animated video, the networking of companies and their interfaces will be illustrated based on three patient histories. During a related think tank, the question of what the prerequisites are that will make networking interfaces a reality and not simply an imagined Utopia (23 March).
Obsolete equipment, paper stacks, fax machines – Xpomet diagnoses an innovation gap in many medical practices. The medical practice of the future would save doctors and employees time. Visitors will be shown how the initiators envisage an ideal future practice, starting with a simple online appointment.
Why is it not so easy to install innovations in the German healthcare system, when we all handle apps, for example, in many different areas of life? Pieper sees German politicians as too overstretched to make good decisions. However, he assumes that the healthcare system will change because patients will demand innovations. Changing communication between doctor and younger generation patients would help them to ask more confidently for innovations and different treatment options. ‘At Xpomet we want a bottom-up process,’ Pieper explains. In concrete terms, this means that the organisers do not rely on top decision-makers and established names, as in other trade fairs, but rather on students, patients and lateral thinkers who will help shape the future in the healthcare sector.
Following three-years as head physician in the emergency unit at Berlin’s Vivantes Klinikum am Urban, in 2015 Dr Timo Schöpke MD was appointed for his present role as Director of the Emergency Centre of the Barnim Clinic in Berlin.
Industrial engineer Ulrich Pieper is the Xpomet Convention’s Chairman and the founder and CEO of Business Management GmbH. Since graduating his work has focused healthcare sector for more than twenty years.