“Patient welfare has to be top priority”

Dr Hans-Peter Kemmer, former Medical Director of the Lungenklinik Hemer, is now bringing in his expertise in hospital and hygiene management at Clinaris. Six questions for our new advisor on the topic of digitalisation in hospitals.

How digitally savvy would you say German hospitals are?

Dr Hans-Peter Kemmer: As far as digitalisation is concerned, Germany has long been running behind in quite a few areas, healthcare included. However, expedited by the Covid-19 crisis, digitalisation in hospitals and clinics is now progressing in a serious way. All things considered, I would say we are on the right track, despite so far being considerably behind certain other European countries in this regard. Decision-makers in the healthcare sector have, however, recognised the need for further advancement in the field, be that in the form of digital patient files, an intelligent software application for bed management or robotics in surgery.

It is people that have to implement digitalisation. What will be the key factor in encouraging hospital staff to get behind it?

Dr Hans-Peter Kemmer: Many things are technically feasible, but in my role as an advisor I also try to consider daily life in the hospital and keep asking myself what benefits the user will have. After all, digitalisation also means change, and that is what I need people to get on board with. Some older hospital employees still have a hard time using computers. To ensure these issues can be overcome in daily operations, they have to recognise the advantages of new technology and not see it as a threat to their jobs. Targeted training measures are a useful tool in this regard.

Is it also a challenge for the management level? Should change management be a fixed component of manager training?

Dr Hans-Peter Kemmer: Digitalisation means change, making it a matter for management. Hospitals have understood this and have been considering this issue in the recruitment of managers for some time now.

How much pressure is there from patient expectations of the digitalisation of the hospital environment?

Dr Hans-Peter Kemmer: Patient welfare has to be at the focus of our efforts. Patients don’t always say so directly, but they expect state-of-the-art care across the board, from TV and WiFi facilities to hospital organisation to beds – digitalisation included. Take hospital waiting times, for instance. They are often an uncomfortable situation for patients. If I look at digitalisation from the perspective of patient satisfaction, I can use it to ensure shorter waiting times for individual treatments.

How can hospitals communicate their hygiene standards to the public?

Dr Hans-Peter Kemmer: Germs in hospitals were a big topic even before Covid-19, so patients are already aware of the importance of optimal hygiene. They quite rightly expect the beds to be hygienic. On long hospital days, they can also observe how the rooms are cleaned and the beds are prepared, for instance. This also involves supporting and documenting the preparation process using scans – for instance using HPM® from CLINARIS. Hospitals can communicate this to the public by describing their hygiene measures on their website, in an annual hospital quality report or in patient flyers.

What were your reasons for working with CLINARIS?

Dr Hans-Peter Kemmer: I had early exposure to the digital world, even as far back as my medical studies at RTWH Aachen University. When Mr Meinolf Köhn (Sales Director at CLINARIS GmbH) approached me, the topic of digitalisation in hospitals was of definite appeal, particularly with a focus on hygiene. I find it exciting and very sensible to integrate HPM® and the possibilities it brings into the hospital environment. As a former clinician myself, I can also bring in the user perspective and explain the benefits hospitals will see if they use the application.