An interview with Luisa Wasilewski, Health Expert at Brainwave, the digitalisation arm of the Paracelsus Kliniken

What do our members think about the German Mittelstand? What problems do they see? Where can the Maschinenraum help and which projects do they implement together with us?

interview | 14.08.2020

Dear Luisa, please tell us something about you and Brainwave?

My name is Luisa Wasilewski and I am a Digital Health Expert at Brainwave, the digitalisation task force of the Paracelsus Kliniken. Before I joined Brainwave, I worked in management consulting. However, I realized relatively quickly that the job was lacking a sense of purpose and that I wanted to do something where I felt greater impact. This is how I ended up in the healthcare. I think the digitalization of the health market is one of the most important tasks of our time, because it has the potential to truly improve our lifes by healing people better and faster.

One of the reasons I love working for Brainwave is that I work closely with Fabian Pritzel. He holds the position of Managing Director for Digital and Innovation at the Paracelsus Kliniken. A role you won’t find at many German hospitals - this should change!

Further I am currently co-authoring a book with the German title "Digitaler Puls: Warum der Gesundheitsmarkt jetzt digital handeln muss" which will be published in September.

Why is the Mittelstand important for Germany?

The German Mittelstand is unique in the world. In Germany we have a long tradition of family owned business which exist for decades if not centuries. Often they lead their industry and have been visionaries in their field. All with a strong cooperation with workers unions and without changing shareholder structures.

Nevertheless, the Mittelstand is a two-edged sword. Because on the one hand, the Mittelstand is a cumbersome, sluggish, long-established and traditional industry that hasn't had much to do with digitalisation so far. Due to their history and legacy, medium-sized companies therefore find it difficult to come to terms with the concept of digitalisation. At the same time, there are companies like Viessmann that set a positive example. They have a new generation of leaders and show that the Mittelstand can break up their encrusted structures and innovate without having to give up tradition.

Where does the healthcare market stand when it comes to innovation and digitalisation? What are the challenges?

Similar to medium-sized companies, I would say that digitalisation in healthcare is still in its infancy. There is currently no overarching digital infrastructure in the healthcare market. For example, an IT challenge many hospitals still face today is rolling out WLAN access in every room. How can a digital patient file help if you can’t reach it at the patient's bed?

There are many reasons for the digital shortcomings. For example, in many hospitals the topic “digital” is confused with the task of the internal IT department ("EDV" team). Of course it is much more than that. Digitalisation is a core business and strategic task and should therefore be addressed and promoted by the management. But you can’t do digital strategy without a functioning infrastructure that connects systems and collects structured data - which we again need for a useful electronic patient file. A hospital currently deals with a thousand systems, all of which operate autonomously and software that is anachronistic - for example software that cannot communicate with a cloud system. This situation - systems not talking to each other - reflects the overall situation of the healthcare market. However, we urgently need these interfaces to enable an interoperable nationwide system.

How can digitalisation help the healthcare market in concrete terms?

The healthcare market is just at the beginning of a major digital transformation towards better treatments and ultimately a better life for patients. Let’s first take a look at the healthcare providers. Digitalisation in hospitals will for example help to improve internal processes, such as nursing care or bed management. This means that specialist staff have more time for care of the really important tasks and spend less time on documentation.

I believe the biggest benefitter of future digital products and services should and will be the patient. With the help of data personalized medicine will become a reality. This will allow patients to prevent diseases early and in the case of sickness be cured faster, better and ideally less cost-intensively. The patient often degenerates into an object, into a case, due to lack of time and acutely excessive demands on the hospital staff. But this is not acceptable and the younger generations won’t accept it either. The patient needs to move to the center of all services and must be treated more humanely. Technology can help to have more time for the actual important thing: the personal exchange between doctor and patient. In the end, digitalisation makes medicine more human.

How can the Maschinenraum help?

The Maschinenraum is a mental extension of what we think at the Paracelsus Kliniken. Digitalisation in the healthcare market is a huge task. You can't do it alone. At the Maschinenraum you meet people from other industries who think the same, who are avant-garde. Together with the Maschinenraum, we want to promote digital innovation projects in the healthcare industry. The Maschinenraum serves as a platform that brings the right people together.

What is your vision for the Paracelsus Kliniken?

We want to be healing people better and faster.

The best thing about the Maschinenraum in one sentence?

Creating the future of tomorrow with inspiring people.

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