E-health which existed in principle prior to the internet-hype around the turn of the millennium has produced enormous expectations and only delivered successfully in a set of applications. However, it is to be expected that the diffusion of e-health will continue due to the general potential for productivity and efficiency gains. Ever since the discussion concerning electronic health insurance cards, health-related internet forums or telehealth applications, many people have become familiar with e-health applications, which have already been introduced to and used by several sectors of the healthcare system. Market potentials of the e-health industry are considered most significant for the future market of health business. The major objective of e-health is the optimization and automation of operational health service processes and health communication of any kind. These efforts are aiming at the preserving comprehensive and complete information about the clinical situation of a patient along with saving of both transaction and production costs. Besides practical applications, e-health also considers itself as a science, which analyzes the extent to which the use of information and communication technologies actually improves the medical supply, its quality and patient-orientation within the healthcare system.
Until a few years ago healthcare in Germany was officially considered above all as a cost factor in the solidarity-financed healthcare system. Meanwhile, it has been acknowledged that healthcare is a growth market par excellence due to its highly innovative and labor-intense configuration which requires highly skilled and capable workforces. Healthcare is now one of the largest industries in Germany and pervades nearly all aspects of life in our society. Besides established market players, such as the pharmaceutical or medical device industries, especially innovations in information technology lead to the establishment of business models of which most have direct links or platforms connected to “e-health”.
The focus of research activities is to assess, record and evaluate the current use of innovative technologies which are either based on e-health solutions or depend on them. The setting focus of research is the German healthcare system. The solutions which are subject to research programs range from small healthcare-oriented apps to the convergence of complex digital technologies including information and communication technologies. Based on the experience obtained, model projects aiming at a modern and prospective health care are initiated. The aim is to support the development of cost-effective e-health concepts, which take both the actual medical care situation as well as health economic and technological requirement eventually of different healthcare systems into account. Besides a sustainable management of healthcare, another important issue is the support of otherwise healthy citizens including health-associated service providers in the market segments relevant to a mobile information society.
Considering the dynamics of this comparably young discipline, the sector ”e-health and health communication” has a long history at our institute. Furthermore, our activities are equally oriented on science and health economics – due to both the connection with university partners and the cooperation with representatives of the healthcare industry. These collaborations are all the more important since e-health considers itself as an interdisciplinary field that provides interfaces with other sciences such as health economics, health services research, pharmacoeconomics, informatics as well as communication technology and media sciences.
CardioBBeat - Economic Analysis of TeleHealth [external link]
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