Healthcare is among the many industries that digitization has been changing, and T-Systems' Telekom Healthcare Solutions unit has long been offering IT-based solutions and products for the healthcare sector. In July 2017, the company established a new unit, Digital Health, which collaborates closely with Telekom Healthcare Solutions in bringing new product ideas to healthcare markets.
The numbers of connected medical devices are growing rapidly. The new unit was established to address this trend, which is leading to ever-increasing data collection and transmission in both professional and private settings. The advantages of such connection include better capacity utilization, and more-efficient maintenance, of medical devices in hospitals. In addition, connected equipment can improve medical rescue teams' speed and precision in providing initial care for accident victims. In general, digitization is leading to "smarter" devices that can improve treatments and patients' quality of life. In the following, we present examples of solutions and applications that the two areas of T-Systems are developing and offering:
Sea Hero Quest – playing for the fight against forgetfulness
Sea Hero Quest, which was launched in May 2016, is the world's first mobile game that anonymously collects data in support of research on dementias, including Alzheimer's. The data consist of records of players' navigations through Sea Hero Quest's gamescapes. To date, over three million people have played the game and completed such tasks as guiding a small boat through an icy polar landscape, orienting themselves relative to icebergs and frigid bays. In the game, players search for a treasure, without using GPS or a compass. They navigate with the aid of a map that they commit to memory.
Now Deutsche Telekom has developed the world's first virtual reality game that supports dementia research. The new game, Sea Hero Quest VR, is expected to produce additional game data that researchers will be able to compare, via cross-validation, with the data produced to date, in order to gain further insights.
With its 3D world, Sea Hero Quest VR yields game data that are considerably more precise. As a player moves through Sea Hero Quest VR's various virtual environments, the game detects and records his or her body movements, including even extremely small motions, ten times per second. Researchers estimate that it would take about five hours of conventional clinical research to produce the quantity of data that just two minutes of game time can generate.
Hans-Christian Schwingen explains why Deutsche Telekom is supporting dementia research: "Innovative technologies can help us address the pressing challenges of our time. We plan to continue the fight against dementia, in cooperation with our partners, by helping researchers make significant progress in their efforts." Deutsche Telekom developed the Game for Good initiative in close cooperation with University College London, the University of East Anglia, the research charity Alzheimer’s Research UK, and the video-game company Glitchers.
Deutsche Telekom is supporting efforts to improve early diagnosis and treatment of dementia, with the overall aim of improving dementia treatment in general. Further information about the current status of this project is available here: www.seaheroquest.com and at #gameforgood.
Doctors with tablet computers instead of clipboards? In Germany, that is not yet a common sight, but it is in Denmark. On average, hospitals in Germany invest only about two percent of their budgets in IT systems. The corresponding figure in Denmark is higher than 20 percent.
Knappschaftsklinikum Saar, a hospital located in the town of Sulzbach, is an example of a German medical facility with a strong focus on IT solutions. It is planning to phase out paper patient files completely. In cooperation with Deutsche Telekom, the hospital has set up a digital information system that enables doctors and caregivers to use iPad mini tablet computers to access patient data, diagnoses, and x-rays. The system thus facilitates and enhances medical-staff collaboration.
Doctors also use the tablet computers to explain diagnoses to patients – for example, with the help of three-dimensional x-ray images. And the system has eliminated the frequent – and often time-consuming – process of searching for patient files. Some senior physicians admit to having spent half of their training looking for patient files.
A scientific study carried out at Berlin's Charité hospital has found that use of such electronic tools enhances treatment efficiency. Digital tools help cut costs and help improve patient care and support.
An app helps patients with brain concussions
In the framework of the "Schütz Deinen Kopf" (Protect your head) initiative, Deutsche Telekom has been supporting the development of an app for diagnosis of brain concussions. Brain concussions often go undetected. When this happens, an injured person may fail to curtail his or her physical activities, thereby incurring an enormous risk for additional accidents and injuries and long-term neurological damage – and thus greatly underestimating the long-term effects of the original incident.
"Schütz Deinen Kopf" is an initiative of ZNS – Hannelore Kohl Stiftung, a foundation that supports and assists people with brain injuries, and their families. In the effort, the foundation is working closely with leading relevant organizations, medical professionals, and sports associations to raise awareness about this issue.
Deutsche Telekom is supporting the project in the framework of its corporate social responsibility, and it provided financial support for the development of the app. Suitable for use with both top athletes and recreational athletes, the app helps first responders address sports injuries reliably and quickly.
The "Schütz Deinen Kopf" app has been available for free download since December 2016. It is intended to be used immediately following a bodily collision or fall, and with the cooperation of the potentially injured person – for example, a coach or team physician might use it to assess an injured player. It takes only a few minutes to use, and it can be used on or next to a playing field, or in a locker room. The potentially injured person answers questions about his or her symptoms, completes a balance check, and undergoes a reaction test and an eye-function test. If the app then reports a "risk of a brain concussion," the person should immediately see a doctor – and by no means return to a game or workout.
Further information Schütz deinen Kopf! (German)
Healthcare solutions for a connected healthcare sector (German)