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The Knee Care Press

Weekly

Are Swiss hospitals adopting digital solutions fast enough?


A recent MEDINSIDE article reports on the findings from a survey of health care workers across 26 Swiss hospitals.1


From the feedback of more than 300 doctors, nurses, IT, corporate development and hospital directors, MEDINSIDE acknowledged that digitalisation was an area of rapidly increasing interest. However, they suggested that “the lag in the field of digitalisation and information and communication technology (ICT) – measured in terms of investment volumes – was still immense. While the financial industry made around half of their gross investments in ICT in 2015, the health sector made less than 10 percent.”1

Opportunities for digitalisation: mobile devices

One of the most striking examples of the dearth of technology observed by the authors was the underutilisation of mobile devices, which were used in less than a third of the hospitals. 1 According to the authors, “the digital accompaniment of the patient along the entire patient path is still in its infancy (in Switzerland), and for now the hospitals concentrate primarily on the phases during and after the hospital stay.” They believe that there are many other touch points that could be enhanced by digitalisation, including the phase before the patient enters the hospital. This would “allow all the necessary activities, particularly administrative activities, to be completed regardless of location before ever entering the hospital.” 1

Opportunities for digitalisation: Replacing paper-based structures

According to the report, “the current development in digitalisation seems to focus primarily on the replacement of paper-based structures – with specific attention to topics related to the hospital information system (HIS).” 1

Applications based on artificial intelligence (AI) and electronic decision support systems were rare with just 4% of those surveyed using them currently. 1 While electronic patient communication (other than email) also appeared to be of the low priority/infrequently used at present. According to survey responses, just 12% of hospitals indicated that they were implementing channels like chat, video telephony or similar. 1 The authors noted that “tele-medical offers, computer-aided surgery and patient portals were only mentioned sporadically in the survey.” 1 They observed that “projects that enhance the interface with the patient do not seem to have progressed beyond the stage of internal discussions.” 1

MEDINSIDE observed the following perceived barriers to digitalisation:

  • 58 percent called out a “lack of suitable human resources”
  • 48 percent suggested that external factors (lack of suitable solutions or regulatory hurdles) were responsible
  • 40 percent identified insufficient budgets as an obstacle
  • 60 percent of IT and Medical Technology Personnel considered “a lack of digital mind-set” as a more significant obstacle
  • 53 percent of the same group see corporate development as a leading obstacle.

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