Throughout Europe, digital innovations with substantial benefits for the patients are spreading quickly. However, stakeholders in Germany are still reserved about these new technologies. Alexander Schachinger, founder and CEO of healthcare42.com and speaker at Health 2.0 Europe, talks about the chances of digital healthcare services in Germany.
Mr. Schachinger, healthcare42 and Publicis Healthware/ razorfish are currently preparing a survey about the utilization of health information by chronic patients in the Internet. What exactly is the objective of your investigations?
Alexander Schachinger: Up to now, there haven‘t been any representative scientific studies about the usage of health information by chronic patients. We still don‘t know how this influences their knowledge, their attitudes or their behavior in regard to the healthcare market, in particular towards doctors and pharmacists. We are attempting to close a gap here since research on e-patients has been unfortunately neglected in Germany. In a survey in cooperation with KWHC and others, we interviewed 3,500 e-patients online. We were able to show that the Internet, exchange in forums and suchlike do have an effect on the patients, especially in regard to medical consultations and the decision for or against a certain therapy.
How do you define “e-patients?”
With this term we refer to people suffering from chronic diseases, but also to acutely ill patients, who use the Internet to find out and share information about health issues. This term also comprises all sorts of caregivers, including parents, children or spouses who inform themselves about the medical conditions of their loved ones via the Internet.