Blog // Digitalisiation

What does a digital doctor do?

A fascinating area of business – and not just because we also operate in the health market. After all, x-rays, MRT, CRT and other technology are expected to be redundant in a few years. The American researchers' vision is this: We will swallow small globules, and these tiny probes will provide real time photos on the doctor's and patient's smartphone. This does not only mean that it will no longer be necessary to go to an x-ray specialist, but that the diagnosis and treatment plan will be produced at one location.

Forward-looking doctors also have a connection to a US health care portal such as CrowdMed or NetDoctor which advise patients in cases of complex diagnoses: Medical detectives search medical databases for successful treatments and send the patient three top treatment plans for about $200. Already in 2013 NetDoc had four million visitors on its homepage3.

This is consistent with the fact that this year IBM bought up four companies that collect medical data and offer internet-based health services4. For example, Merge Healthcare uses digital technology for collection and management of clinical diagnoses and had a change of owner for $ 1 billion.

In India a revolution is underway in medical diagnostic procedures

Whenever a software giant like IBM invests in a market, we can assume that there will be a lot of money to be made there in the future. By combining various health software programs, for example, a computer called "Watson Health" is being developed which in future will allow doctors around the world to produce diagnoses and treatment plans quickly, cost-effectively and with good prospects of success.

IBM is taking concrete steps in co-operation with the Indian hospital chain MANIPAL: In their 16 clinics approximately 200,000 positive cancer diagnoses are produced every year. A fivefold increase is predicted in the coming years. Already now in India approximately 1,600 cancer patients are attended by only one oncologist (the ratio in the USA is 100:1). "What might take a team of oncologists and doctors specialising in cancer six days there can be done in a few minutes with one mobile computer or one iPad", says Rob Merkel of Watson Health.

There is a revolution underway in India in medical diagnostic procedures. And the experience gained from the pilot project will be marketed across the world in two or three years. The digital doctor will then need less time for diagnosis and will have more time for the patient. Management of clinics and medical practices will be lateral and will involve co-operation with patients.



1 Geschwill, Roland & Nieswandt, Martina, Laterales Management, Das Erfolgsprinzip für Unternehmen im digitalen Zeitalter, Springer 2016

2 FAZ, Es sägt und näht der Roboter. 10 May 2016, p. 57

3 Sattelberger, Thomas, amongst others, Das demokratische Unternehmen, Haufe, 2015, p. 43

4 FAS, Der digitale Doktor. 12. Rune 2016, p. 23