Showroom for the use of immersive technologies in the healthcare industry
On February 15, the Baden Campus became a showroom for the digitized healthcare industry: 22 innovators from Germany and Alsace demonstrated their solutions, ranging from platforms for creating VR training, visualization solutions for medical and life sciences research to VR-supported rehabilitation applications. On stage, experts from XR and the healthcare industry discussed and spoke about the role of immersive technologies for the healthcare industry. The conclusion: We are on the right track, even if a lot can and must still happen. VR and AR are not an end in themselves, but offer the potential to improve healthcare and thus create direct added value for patients.
AR and VR in use at Pfizer
After the welcome by Peter Neske from Pfizer Healthcare Hub, Dr. Thomas Scheuerle from BadenCampus, Iris Frick from Deutsche Messe and Maren Courage from VR Business Club, Thomas Kleine, Head of IT & Digital Pfizer Germany, opened the event with more than 150 participants with his keynote about new technologies with the focus goal of translation into everyday care. He began by using the development of the Corona vaccine as an example to show the enormous potential of digitalization for the pharmaceutical industry and the concrete benefits for patients. Using two concrete examples, he showed that Pfizer is actively driving the establishment of new technologies such as AR or VR and embedding them in the respective patient pathway: For example, Pfizer is developing virtual reality training courses to provide further simulation-based training for medical professionals. For this purpose, Pfizer is cooperating with the startup 3spin, which is developing the corresponding software that allows users to create their own VR and AR training courses at the click of a mouse. The company from Darmstadt was one of 22 startups to present its no-code software to the interested audience.
"Quality medicine in real time": Prof. Dr. Frederik Wenz on the digital transformation of a university hospital
"No patient will be treated at Freiburg University Hospital without the influence of AI," said Prof. Dr. Frederik Wenz, Executive Medical Director of Freiburg University Hospital, about the state of digitalization at Freiburg University Hospital. In his keynote, he provided insights into the digitalization of the University Hospital and emphasized the urgency of the transformation processes: "Digital transformation is a huge challenge, but if you don't start now, you won't be able to offer services in two to three years."
Experience virtual reality in person
After a high-level round of introductions of all the startups present, which was moderated by Günther Illert of Healthcare Shapers, the participants were able to experience live at 22 stations what functions virtual reality can assume for the healthcare industry: With VR goggles, headsets, controllers and gloves, the participants moved through simulations, virtual rooms and faced challenges, such as those used in the training of nursing staff – along the way, questions were answered, valuable contacts were made and initial ideas for collaborations were already being considered.
From the 5-HT network: Visual Abstracts and Goodly Innovations
Among others, Dr. Benito Campos from the startup Visual Abstracts and Robert Hoffmeister from Goodly Innovations, with whom Peter Neske established contact at the 5-HT Innovators Club in November 2022, were also present. This meeting not only gave the two startups the opportunity to present themselves to a tri-national network in Breisach, but there are also talks with several Pfizer business units about a cooperation between Pfizer and Visual Abstracts as well as concrete interest in carrying out a proof of concept with Goodly Innovations via the global hub network – a real 5-HT success story.
Cynteract and StellDirVor
Also present was Cynteract with Gernot Sümmermann: The startup wants to make hand rehabilitation more motivating through a gamification approach. The Pfizer Healthcare Hub has been watching Cynteract for some time, and scaling via the Hub network would be interesting for Cynteract. Theda Ockenga presented StellDirVor, also a startup for which the opportunity to present itself at the innovation event arose through contact with the Pfizer Healthcare Hub to to drive concrete projects in the local innovation ecosystem.
How does innovation around digitalization get into the reality of care?
The panel discussion with Prof. Dr. David Matusiewicz, founder and CEO of the DXM Group, Prof. Dr. Miriam Rüsseler, Professor of Medical Didactics and Clinical Simulation, Dr. Armin Pscherer Co-Founder and CEO of the Healthcare Innovation Institute and Thomas Kleine addressed, among other things, the advantages of digital training for medical staff. Prof. Dr. Rüsseler reported on her experiences in the simulation hospital, where virtual training modules can be used to train processes and procedures virtually before they are carried out at the patient. Structural hurdles, such as outdated licensing regulations, which prevent translation into the real world of healthcare, were also discussed. Thomas Kleine emphasized the importance of cooperation in order to establish digital innovations in everyday care: "We are on the right track. We have recognized what is needed and must now move from thinking to acting. For this, we need strong partnerships not only between startups and pharma, but between all players in the healthcare ecosystem." When asked what advice she would give to startups and companies, Prof. Dr. David Matusiewicz replied, "Just do it. Start with small things, then bigger things develop from there."
Immersive technologies have enormous potential, offering solutions to major challenges such as the shortage of skilled workers or even the climate crisis. And if the mood on the BadenCampus is to be believed, VR, AR and the Metaverse not only make processes more efficient, procedures simpler and training more lively – they also bring a lot of fun!
A heartfelt thank you to everyone who made the event such a success!
This is the state of digitalization in the German healthcare sector: A look back at #DHC22
On November 30, 2022, the Bitkom Digital Health Conference (#DHC22) took place at Kosmos Berlin. For the seventh time, the key players in the healthcare sector met to discuss the crucial issues and topics surrounding digital healthcare. A special focus this year was on the topics of digital care, tech trends, social governance, and data spaces & platforms.
"We can move digitally in Germany – that was seen during the pandemic. We have an outstanding startup landscape and together we can succeed in digitizing the healthcare industry," with these words Dr. Bernhard Rohleder, Chief Executive Officer of Bitkom, welcomed the visitors. The #DHC22 focused on all the questions surrounding the opportunities and possibilities of digitization, AI, algorithms and machine learning for tomorrow's healthcare: How can we improve patient care through new digital technologies? What goals and challenges does the German eHealth strategy address? And how can we use digital solutions to make healthcare more sustainable? Experts from science, business and politics addressed technology trends for the healthcare sector on three stages and provided insights into digital applications for doctors' practices, clinics, hospitals and care.
"For a long time, the prevailing attitude of the medical profession toward digitization was characterized by skepticism, distance, and in some cases even rejection – certainly also with serious concerns about maintaining the confidentiality of the doctor-patient relationship. In recent years, however, this skepticism has increasingly given way to advocacy", said Klaus Reinhardt, president of the German Medical Association, about the state of digitalization in the German healthcare system.
Pfizer at the #DHC22
As a premium partner of the event, Pfizer was represented in large numbers on site: Dr. Sabine Gilliam, Country President at Pfizer Germany, held her keynote as one of the highlight speakers at #DHC22 directly after Prof. Dr. Karl Lauterbach and Dr. Peter Schardt, Chief Technology Officer at Siemens Healthineers. The Pfizer Healthcare Hub informed with a booth about how startups can establish their digital developments on the market in cooperation with Pfizer. Maja Hoock, Innovation Lead of the Pfizer Healthcare Hub Berlin, together with Patrick Schraps, Project Manager at AOK plus, formed the jury for the startup pitches.
Digital Solutions in Global Pandemics: Keynote by Dr. Sabine Gilliam
Dr. Sabine Gilliam spoke about the pivotal role digital solutions played in the rapid development of a vaccine and drug against Corona. She cited the following three key learnings:
- With supercomputing and AI, Pfizer was able to reduce the overall time of complex calculations by as much as 90%
- Collaborations: The rapid development of the Corona vaccine and antiviral drug was only possible because government agencies, companies and scientific institutions pulled together globally
- Knowledge sharing and data exchange only work if data can flow freely.
Her conclusion: data availability must be increased and private research must also be given equal access to data. Fast and unhindered data exchange and, above all, global cooperation are essential for pandemic control and prevention: data flows must be thought of globally. She concluded by calling for a dialogue on the use of data that is free of ideology, driven by pragmatism and the added value for patients.
Startups at #DHC22
"Developing digital state-of-the-art products has to happen so fast that new technologies are not already current when they are launched. That's why collaborations with agile startups are so important for large companies. The six startups that presented themselves and their developments at DHC22 aim to help patient:ing with cancer, endometriosis and long covid with AI-based training, digital companions and databases. It's great to witness this spirit of innovation," said Maja Hoock about the six young companies on stage at #DHC22. The following startups were in attendance:
Digital technologies are the future of healthcare
Whether telemedicine, health apps or operating robots: medical care must continue to become more digital – not only to catch up with other countries in the digitalization of healthcare, but above all to be able to guarantee patients high-quality, up-to-date medical care in the future. Dr. Sabine Gilliam summed up the importance of digitization for the healthcare system in the words of Mikael Dolsten, Chief Medical Officer at Pfizer: "Science will win and digital will help us to win faster."
Sustainability in industry: The Pfizer HighCon plant as an example of sustainable pharmaceutical production
What exactly is meant by sustainability in industry? How do manufacturing companies deal with it? How can economic success be reconciled with ecology? And what concrete solutions are there for industrial users? On November 16, company representatives at the BadenCampus gave around 100 participants insights into how sustainability is practiced in their companies, and startups presented their developments for more sustainable production.
The Pfizer high containment plant in Freiburg as a model example for sustainability
The event opened with a presentation by Gunter Bechmann, PhD, Senior Manager Operations, about the High-Con factory in Freiburg. The High-Con factory in Freiburg combines high technology with state-of-the-art energy management and, according to the German Federal Environment Agency, is an example of good practice for sustainable pharmaceutical production: The plant can draw a large part of its energy from sustainable sources. Gunther Bechmann emphasizes how important cooperation with the Pfizer Healthcare Hub and with external Innnovtor:innen is for the Freiburg site: "One of the prerequisites for investment in sustainable production is innovation in the subject area. We are ideally positioned for this at the site with our industry partners and the Pfizer Healthcare Hub."
Other practical presentations on sustainability in industry
- Kristof Schimmele, overall sales manager at Badische Staatsbrauerei Rothaus AG, outlined Rothaus' path to climate positivity
- Patrick R. Egloff, Managing Partner, J.W. Zander GmbH & Co. KG, presented the Energy Monitor, a quick and easy way to reduce energy consumption
- Daniel Hug, managing director, H. Waldmann GmbH & Co. KG, Valentin Kaltenbach, Founder and Managing Director, KALTENBACH.SOLUTIONS GmbH and Anna Tatjana Pflug, Coach, spoke on the topic "With man and machine to sustainability in production"
The event was organized by BadenCampus and its network partners: BANSBACH GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungs- und Steuerberatungsgesellschaft, Wirtschaftskanzlei Friedrich Graf von Westphalen (FGvW) and the Steinbeis Europa Zentrum.
Sustainability as an opportunity
The event, which included mutual exchange and networking, showed that the industry is using very advanced solutions at many points and that digitalization in particular offers great potential for the development of sustainable solutions. Sustainability is now seen as an opportunity, economically successful and sustainable solutions are a competitive advantage for companies, today more than ever.
The Digi Derma Start-up Café: Digital and AI-supported solutions for diagnostics and therapy in dermatology
The Pfizer Healthcare Hub Berlin wants to make the potential of digital health applications accessible to doctors and patients in the field of dermatology and supported the 3rd Digi Derma Start-up Café. On 5 November, the startup scene met with the Professional Association of German Dermatologists (BVDD) on the EUREF campus in Berlin. Startups, pharmaceutical companies, incubators, accelerators, dermatologists and interested parties from politics, business and self-administration exchanged views on teledermatological, digital and AI-supported solutions for skin diseases.
Visitors got to know new digital applications from 14 startups and were able to discuss market entry opportunities in Germany. The jury selected LENICURA GmbH by Dr. Katharina Hennig as the winner of the poster presentation. "It is very important for digitalization in the pharmaceutical sector to go where innovation happens. In this way, we come into contact with startups that are our cooperation partners of tomorrow," says Maja Hoock, Lead of the Pfizer Healthcare Hub. Marco Kremp, Senior Brand Manager Dermatology and Lisa Gebauer, Digital Marketing Trainee, supervised the booth of the Pfizer Healthcare Hub. Sales Director Ines Hübner and Dr. Anja Plenske from the I&I Medical Team were also on site.
Panel discussion: Digitalization in theory & practice
In the panel discussion, Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Sebastian Kuhn, Head of the Institute of Digital Medicine, Prof. Dr. iur. Fruzsina Molnár-Gábor, Heidelberg University / Faculty of Law and Dr. med. Ralph von Kiedrowski, President of the BVDD discussed the current state of digitalization in Germany, named problem areas such as the telematics infrastructure and took a look into the future of dermatology. The discussion was moderated by Jessica Hanneken, VP Investment and Strategy Management, BFS Health Finance GmbH.
The conclusion: Innovation must create clear added value for doctors and patients and should be developed together with practitioners from practice.
"In the course of digitalization, more and more possibilities are being developed to communicate faster and more effectively between doctor and patient, to make diagnoses or to accompany therapies. Making these new digital solutions accessible to as many patients as possible is an important task in which the Pfizer Healthcare Hub is happy to support," says Anja Plenske.
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