Patients expect medicine 2.0

The concept of digitization has become indispensable in today's world. At the end of the 20th century, a process based on technological advances and increasing digitization accelerated and fundamentally changed many aspects of life. In the style of the industrial revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries and the associated economic, political and social changes, digitization is already being referred to as the "digital revolution". Above all, the Internet is the engine and hub of this change. Along with other technologies, it has had a major impact on communication, work processes, and social and consumer behavior.

Digitization continues to move forward. In particular, the integration of systems, further development of artificial intelligence and the processing of large amounts of data are the focus of our general cultural interest. While these solutions are already gradually implemented in parts of many industries, digitization within the medical field is often a foreign concept. Despite positive developments in a few countries, outdated computer systems, fax machines, pens and paper are still part of everyday life in many places. Digitalization holds enormous potential for optimizing healthcare processes, while also cutting costs significantly.

Some people have already suggested that soon the use of big data and artificial intelligence will revolutionize medicine in much the same way as the development of antibiotics in the 20th century. Despite the enormous potential, the dangers of digitization are frequently pointed out, particularly grave concerns in terms of data security and the possible misuse of sensitive information. Another argument against digitization is that patients do not need or reject digital healthcare solutions. McKinsey, a consultancy in business strategies, tried to find answers to this question with their Digital Patient Survey, which was conducted in 2014.

They interviewed several thousand patients in the United Kingdom, Germany and Singapore. The results were evident and proved that 75% of respondents would like and expect digital healthcare services in the future - and the approval was not limited to the younger generation. Although there were differences in the preferred channels, the vast majority of elderly patients were also in favor of digital offers and services. The wishes and needs of all patient groups overlap, however. Patients do not expect revolutionary changes, but at least more efficiency and connectivity in healthcare, and better access to information. The acceptance of such digital services is steadily increasing in popularity. People now expect many of the amenities, which are already widely used in other areas of life, also for their health care. Digital solutions can transform the future of medicine in a positive way, support the work of doctors and contribute to better care and patient satisfaction. For this reason, it is necessary to rethink and take appropriate steps to ensure that the medical world benefits from the digital revolution in the near future.

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