Feb 20, 2018 | Berlin
In addition to the ongoing urgent need for investment in healthcare in Germany, the latest D21-Digital-Index study has identified a further challenge for the sector – the digital revolution is only slowly taking hold in German society. It is therefore more important than ever that healthcare providers take steps to ensure that their digital skills and those of their employees are ready for the future. This is one of the findings of the D21-Digital-Index 2017/2018 (http://initiatived21.de/publikationen/d21-digital-index-2017-2018/).
The D21 Initiative is Germany's largest nonprofit network for digital society consisting of representatives from trade and industry, politics, academia and civil society organizations. CHG-MERIDIAN, a provider of technology management and financing services, is again a partner of the D21-Digital-Index study. Based on the latest findings of the survey, CHG-MERIDIAN is analyzing what impact the growing use of digital technologies is having on healthcare. The focus is on how new technologies are changing the way people work in the care and healthcare systems and how this is resulting in demand for new skills and training.
The German healthcare sector may be a long way from its vision of Health 4.0, but the digital revolution has nonetheless fundamentally changed the care and healthcare systems, both in terms of possibilities and work methods. Digital savvy and interdisciplinary expertise in technology and medicine are increasingly key skills for doctors, nurses, hospital managers and other hospital staff. As a result, being confident in using new technologies and willing to undertake life-long learning will become prerequisites for a successful career in healthcare.
"Healthcare providers have to play a bigger part in helping their employees make use of digital technologies if they want to safeguard their future competitiveness. Employees are still mainly teaching themselves digital skills outside of work. Employers now have to focus on unlocking this potential," says Peter Krause, Head of Healthcare Sector Sales Germany at CHG-MERIDIAN.
As the Digital-Index proves, people are indeed aware of the 'digital workplace', i.e. the ability to work from anywhere using connected devices. For example, one in five of the respondents now works in a virtual team that is not based at a specific location. Mobile forms of working are also becoming more appealing, and only 20 percent said that they're not interested in them. Fears that mobile working could result in a greater overall workload are also declining (drop of 5 percentage points). On the whole, those surveyed regard digitalization as a definite plus for their career and, in particular, for new job opportunities in their sector.
Customized business concepts for mobile devices and systems can help healthcare providers to invest in skills training and continuing professional development for their workforce. The use of new technologies in the private sphere allows doctors, nurses, hospital managers and other hospital staff to familiarize themselves with new topics, applications, and trends in their own time. An Employee PC Program, where employers make the latest communications devices available to their staff for private use, is an Employer Benefit Solution that can increase digital skills and enable mobile working.
Developing digital competence can also unlock efficiency gains in day-to-day medical work, and employee programs can increase healthcare providers' attractiveness as innovative employers. Put simply, promoting the digital skills of the workforce can provide a competitive edge.