Digitization and Health

Digitalization is having an impact on our health. It opens up many new opportunities, but also raises many questions. In this module you will learn how digitalization helps you stay healthy and how illnesses can be treated through digital means.

Are planning a 90-minute workshop on the subject “Digitalization and health”? Scroll down to find helpful ideas.

You will find specific ideas and example exercises for your workshop participants.

Please find the facilitator‘s guide for this 90-min workshop here.

Other versions of the workshop are 45 min and 25 min in length.

Staying healthy

Sarah (25) has always paid attention to her health. However, her new job leaves her little time for sports or healthy eating. That’s why she’s downloaded a few health apps. With just a few clicks, she can enter her data in these apps, helping her keep track of her lifestyle even in stressful everyday life.

Staying healthy

Mike (42) lives in a small town. One morning he discovers a strange looking mole on his left upper arm. He would like to have it checked by a doctor, but the closest dermatologist is 40 kilometers away. That’s why he “visits” Dr. Reichert’s video consultation hour and uses a webcam to show him the suspicious mole.

Healthcare of the future

Michael (68) is on his way to the hospital. He is going to have a hip operation. What he finds there seems almost unthinkable: an operating room without a doctor. A robot that has been programmed especially for hip operations carries out his procedure.

Digital healthcare revolution

Scenarios like these make it clear: Our healthcare is changing and is being improved by the new possibilities that come with digitalization. Health apps and applications are especially popular. Nearly half of all people uses one on their smartphone. In the following chapter, you will learn more about gadgets and applications for health.

“ARYA” is an app used in the treatment of mental illness. Similar to a diary, patients can record their daily moods there. But it has an advantage over the diary: The data is automatically transmitted to the treating therapist. In the near future, there will be a chat function in the app, which will make it possible to contact other patients. The app will soon also make specific suggestions that could help the patients deal with their respective situations.

The noise app from the German professional association of ear, nose, and throat physicians checks how loud it is in your environment. It determines whether the existing noise level can be harmful to your health. Maybe earplugs are not such a bad idea for the next concert…

The “VizWiz” app gives blind and visually impaired people virtual sight.
With “VizWiz”, situations or objects can be photographed and are then described by online volunteers.

Your eyes are burning and your nose is running. The pollen season affects many people every year. The pollen app informs users about the current exposure to certain pollen types at their location. In addition, the application offers a pollen count preview for the next few days.

The “MySkinPal” application makes it possible to monitor birthmarks and moles over longer periods, lettings you track how they change over time. If you discover a conspicuous mole or birthmark, the app can send a photo of the affected area directly to a dermatologist near you.

Do you remember your last first aid course? This app helps you act correctly in an emergency. Step-by-step instructions in speech, text and graphics show which measures must be taken in the event of an accident, for example. In addition, the location of the accident can be entered and an emergency call can be made directly.

The “Darm Check” app from the umbrella organization of the Swiss Patients’ Association helps decide whether or not a colonoscopy is necessary. It determines your own risk of developing colon cancer. Users also receive information on all aspects of intestinal health and preventive measures.

Read an app’s privacy policy carefully before installing it. Untrustworthy apps often pass on your personal data to third parties. If you have doubts about an app’s trustworthiness, look for alternatives.

Make sure that the content of the app is up to date with the latest medical information. Especially in medicine, content can quickly become obsolete and useless for you as a patient.

The contents of a good health app are written in simple, understandable language. Complex interrelationships are well explained and clarified by pictures.

Serious apps disclose their sources of funding. While some apps are funded by health insurance companies, for example, others are financed by a fee that you have to pay yourself. Sometimes only certain functions of an app can be used for free. Find out the exact cost of your usage license.

Check whether the app’s site information is complete and states who is responsible for the app. Good, reliable apps often give you the opportunity to ask experts individual questions using the feedback function.

Check whether the authors of the content are professionally qualified personnel, such as doctors.

A consultation with Dr. Google

Do you know a doctor whose office is open 24 hours a day? Surely you have been to see him before: We are talking about Dr. Google. Millions of people trust him with their symptoms. Try to guess which symptoms people google the most.

Next please!

Long drives to the doctor’s office and hours in the waiting room could soon be a thing of the past. More and more doctors are offering digital consultation hours. No diagnoses are made during these consultation hours. They can be seen as an initial consultation and do not replace a visit to the doctor.

Mr. Wagner’s voluntary medication plan helps doctors with further medical treatment. The plan gives physicians an overview of his prescribed medications. In addition, it helps to prevent side effects and any prescription that could harm the patients’ health.

Voluntary emergency data records contain all the data doctors need in case of an emergency. This includes information about a patient’s chronic illnesses, necessary medication, and allergies. Personal declarations, such as living wills, can also be stored here. The emergency data record can be used to help Mr. Wagner immediately. In the event of an emergency, doctors do not require his direct consent.

The voluntary patient file facilitates the exchange of information between different specialists, ensuring that is on the same page. It is no longer necessary to use written letters to exchange data.

With his health insurance master data, Mr. Wagner proves that he is currently insured. Among other things, this master data includes the insured person’s name, date of birth, address, insurance status, and health insurance number. A physician can also use the data to bill the patient for his or her services.

Mr. Wagner always has control over his health data. All of his visits to the doctor are saved on the card. A PIN protects his data from being misused.

The future of digital healthcare

What will the future of digital healthcare look like? Digital technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, operating robots or 3-D printing will change healthcare. See the following chapter to see what medical progress we can expect.

“Pokémon go” in the operating room


Printed organs


Operation via video chat


Stay healthy!

This is where your digital health trip ends. In this module you learned a lot about the digitization of the health care system. Even if the gadgets and applications presented here cannot replace a visit to the doctor – they can help you get fit and become healthier in your everyday life. With that in mind: Stay healthy!