Given the many developments in other areas such as finance or meteorology, medicine is lagging behind, said Klaus Markstaller, head of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at MedUni Vienna. Although there are already individual applications, especially in imaging diagnostics, the digital transition in medicine has not yet occurred on a large scale.
The expert also sees great potential in his area of expertise. "In intensive care, we literally capture patients' data from one rhythm to the next, all of which is stored for the long-term – in fact for documentation purposes – in AKH Vienna for more than 15 years. now available for reprocessing with artificial intelligence. "The aim would be to make precise proposals for complex situations based on a thorough analysis of the data. In addition to individual patient data, this information would also contain information about the respective hospital and existing resources.
Basis of individual therapy
In general, the digitization expert sees an essential method for the megatrend of personalized medicine. In addition to forward-looking assessments, which are still in their infancy, digitization could also facilitate the flow of information – for example, in the transfer of patients – for both doctors and nurses.
Last but not least, patients themselves or their loved ones may receive updated information more quickly. The latter raises, inter alia, data protection problems and it would be appropriate, for example, to determine which information should be transmitted in a form to relatives.
New Boltzmann Institute
"We are in the process of thinking about how opportunities can be put into practice and we do not yet know what is socially desirable, and the legal, ethical and medical aspects need to be taken into account," says Markstaller. Institute for Digital Health and Patient Safety Ludwig Boltzmann, which will open in October, will address these issues in an interdisciplinary way. "The task of this institute is not to develop new technologies, which makes the industry much more efficient – but to clarify how new technologies can be safely integrated with medicine," Markstaller explains. .
In addition to data protection issues, the expert also identifies the potential dangers of streamlining. Do not expect digitization to simply streamline time. Although it is necessary, it must above all serve the well-being of the patient by taking advantage of the time gained for more contact between the doctor and the patient. Another benefit is the increase in quality. "Modern medicine is more effective but more risky because of its complexity, and digital systems could be safety nets, for example to protect patients and staff when prescribing drugs or measuring vital signs. "
("Die Presse", printed edition, 20.08.2019)