Whether it's appointments and treatment results via app, artificial intelligence or the use of big data – care at Vivantes will be even more digital and thus more human in the future.
Dr. Baumgarten, since November 2020 you have been in charge of the new department "Development of Patient Care and Quality" at Vivantes. What are your tasks here?
Dr. Mina Baumgarten: In short, we see it as our task to realize the future of healthcare at Vivantes – for our patients as well as for our employees. This includes very different aspects: For example, we look at how we can accelerate processes, make them more efficient, but also standardize them.
In addition, we deal with issues relating to innovation and digital offerings, always with one major goal in mind: to offer our patients a continuously optimized patient journey in the coming years.
What is meant by the "patient journey"?
Baumgarten: Basically, it refers to the patient journey that patients go through with us – from diagnosis to treatment to aftercare.
What is important in this "journey" from your point of view?
The quintessence for me is a central question: How do I myself imagine a hospital stay, what do I expect? And what do I expect from a care network like Vivantes? When I ask myself these questions, I quickly arrive at an answer: I want as little administrative work as possible, as little time as possible spent waiting, a well-trained and competent team that takes me seriously and puts me at the center, is empathetic, meets me at eye level. And last but not least, of course, I expect first-class state-of-the-art treatment – at the best place for the respective health concern, i.e. at home, as an outpatient or, if necessary, as an inpatient. We are already very good at some of these points, but we want to get even better and make adjustments in some areas.
That sounds like a major challenge. How can it be achieved?
Baumgarten: A central element here is clearly digitization, which offers us enormous opportunities in numerous places and opens up completely new possibilities – from a patient service app to innovative diagnostics and therapy using artificial intelligence. It is also important to use data on disease patterns and therapies to a much greater extent in the future to be able to treat patients much more individually and thus more precisely than is possible today. This is the only way to increase the quality of treatment – and to keep improving the "Vivantes journey".
Some people have reservations that digitization will replace people and leave less time for contact between the patient and the hospital team. What do you say to that?
Baumgarten: Of course, I hear that from time to time. But the exact opposite is true. Digitization creates completely new time freedoms for interpersonal interaction. In the future, many time-consuming work steps can be taken over by technological and digital solutions, freeing up additional resources for hospital staff. This is a win-win situation for everyone involved. After all, one thing is clear: we all want an understanding doctor who explains all the medical steps to us in peace, or a nurse who takes a few minutes more for a conversation than is often possible at present. My job at Vivantes therefore also includes breaking down false prejudices and promoting the enormous opportunities that the future holds for us.