Hi Prof. Dr. Oliver Hayden. I am excited to interview you as one of the Digital Health Summit speakers. Before asking you some questions related to the topic of the Summit, I am curious to know what you are currently doing, as I am sure the readers are interested as well.
Hi Kei. I am pleased to have an interview with you. Answering your question, I am conducting research aimed at the development of innovative ways of using in-vitro techniques for diagnostic and biomedical purposes. My interdisciplinary research activities are orientated towards current scientific challenges and draw on the fields of electronics, optics, microfluidics, and materials sciences.
The topic of our interview is “Technology vs. Humanity.” Based on your experience, how much technology, and how much human touch is needed in healthcare today? Maybe you have a personal experience or finding on this topic that you would like to share with us.
The pandemic is unfortunately a perfect example for both. We need technology for diagnostics, and we experience every day the hard way that reporting results on paper are probably not the way to go into the 21st century. Even the Corona Warn App is a good digital learning example. Without a reliable push notification, we probably wouldn’t have a “Warn” App. At the same time, we enjoy using free Apps, share our most private information, and feel comfortable because Google Maps shows us the fastest way to a lab for a Corona test. We need a balance between usability and data security.
At the same time, the pandemic demonstrates our vulnerabilities as social individuals with increasing concern. We are social species and virtual communication is not an appropriate replacement. I commute by train and I am shocked by the frequent number of “Personenschäden” between Landshut and Munich. Most recently, I learned that 1/3 of the train drivers in the greater Munich quit due to suicide incidences. This experience is a very drastic example, but I truly believe that we forget how dependent our health is on our environment and our social interactions. Technology needs to support the human touch and not separate us by creating a virtual world.
How do you see healthcare in the future?
Digitalization to increase productivity in a clinical or practitioner environment is an obvious unmet need and is inevitable. More interesting is the fact that the pandemic led to a paradigm shift in telemedicine. In the US reports indicate that digital consultation soared during the pandemic despite hesitant physicians, and after such a first acceptance the digital consultation will remain.
Consumerization of healthcare is another trend. In the US we observe how quickly FDA-approved over-the-counter hearing-aids replace the visit of hearing health specialists. Even remote programming for hearing aids is today’s reality with the consequence that hearing aid centers close. The FDA even cleared this year several instruments for remote clinical monitoring of vital signs at home with approved Bluetooth connectivity to the cell phone – safety and security issues apparently solved. Again, the pandemic accelerates market entry and we will observe more collisions between healthcare professionals and the “informed“consumer. In a related case, even our research group works with orthopedics on a new generation of digital implants, where remote monitoring allows surgeons to support decision making.
Based on your experience, how does technology help the employees involved in healthcare (e.g. hospitals)?
Obviously, productivity via digital support will minimize administrative work. AI will support but will for sure not to replace a radiologist or a pathologist. But hopefully, technology will help us in preventing diseases. Would it not be great if hospitals close because of preventive medicine and healthy consumers?
Why are you following a profession in healthcare?
My passion is translational research. In other words, patients need to benefit from our research on in vitro and in vivo diagnostics. Hopefully, I can retire some time knowing that a few of our wild research ideas penetrated the market and have changed the lives of millions.
And my last question, what are you looking forward to Digital Health Summit 2020?
Meet new friends 😉
Thank you for having this interview together Prof. Dr. Hayden. Looking forward to your speech at the Digital Health Summit!