Digital communication in the medicine

Due to countless definitions of the communication of multiple authors is only one possible declaration explained at this point: Communication will be defined as a „social interaction, in which two or several people exchange information with the help of a communicative devices”.

"Digital communication means at first communication with help of digital media."

The executive place of the digital communication is the Internet. It allows people who are physically separated, to come closer and to enable an exchange of information. Furthermore components, such as eBooks, e-mail, instant messaging, Twitter, video conferences or Social Networks, can be classed with the digitals communication. Another component of the digital communication is the communication between person and machine / computer, which can be implemented with the support of suitable interfaces. The provision of this connection is one of the central research and development areas of the user-friendly design of technology, and a challenge for the digital communication.

Additionally Digital communication plays a bigger and more important role in the health service. Catchwords like increase in productivity and cost savings dominate the health service for years. Through the use of modern information technology a lot can be achieved in this area.
Information systems have the task to support business processes optimally.The principle, especially in the medical range says: “Everyone is just entering the information that he produces, but can retrieve all the information available anywhere and at any time.”

To ensure the requirements, e-business systems are used, which support the company-wide cooperation, provide direct access to internal information systems for the customer and realize the business transactions with third parties by the use of the Internet.

The benefit of these systems is the provision and/or the presence of information, such as in the following section:
Rationalization potentials should be exhausted by business maximization and with it multiple data entries are avoided, business processes about several suppliers are optimized and thereby decisions by the supply of information are accelerated. Cost-savings are realized by the application of "standards" in the hospital treatment and use of the Internet technologies.

Furthermore quality assurance as well as research and teaching play an important role.
In summary:

It should be…

  • …the right information, most timely, clear and error-free.
  • …at the right time, "just in time".
  • …in the right amount, this means all the necessary information has to be available as short as possible.
  • …in the right place, at the right address.
  • …in the required quality, sufficient details for immediate use.

Medical information systems have numerous support dimensions:
First of all processing support should be mentioned, which calculates, evaluates and consolidates data.
Then there is the support documentation that promotes the capture, storage and retrieval of data, documents and knowledge of any kind.
The next point is to support the documentation requirements with the primary function of patient care, but also the research or reporting to register. Examples for this are the capture of the anamnesis or the documentation of the examinations and measures.
The organizational support plays an important role by helping in all aspects of operational organization such as scheduling, resource allocation planning or workflow management.
Communications support provided assistance with any kind of exchange of information between human and / or electronic communication partners within a company or with external partners via e-mail communication, alerts the system through feedback of payers or doctor´s letters to referring physicians.
As a final point, the decision support should be mentioned, which support human decisions through intelligent knowledge-based application system functions.
This is used to e.g. morphological changes in CT / MRT images to automatically detect or to refer to appropriate study patients.

Summary and overview
To provide a basic prerequisite to good medical care without exorbitant costs the communication effort has to be managed as good as possible.
The current development in the field of information management and the communication goes in the direction of a unified IT infrastructure for the medical and administrative data traffic.
Behind the catchwords e-health, e-hospital, e-patient, e-health card, e-medical records, e-prescription, e-doctor´s letter standing next to new concepts in some tried and true approaches, a modification to the IT level is intended to improve the performance and uniformity.
Even with the introduction of the IT infrastructure in the near future, the aspect of the safety still could cause problems under consideration of the steadily increasing Internet crime rate.
As further discussed repeatedly, the expected financial savings are indeed possible.

Julia Rupprecht, Michael Schindler
MedITEX – Medical IT Experts