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How digitization changes stays abroad

How digitization changes stays abroad


from left to right: Conny Czymoch, Robert Kulesa, Sven Scharff, Barbara Kerime, Simone Fuchs, Angelika V. Kolmer, Christian Klinkhammer

The 5th DR-WALTER Security Forum on March 26, 2019, was all about digital transformation. In front of the approximately 100 participants in Siegburg - mostly organizations of development cooperation - the following topics were brought up: In terms of telemedicine, three virtual consultation hours were simulated and discussed. How can the balance between freedom and security be found during foreign assignments? How does a security app help and who benefits from microinsurances - these were other topics at the conference. In the end, the visionary Karl-Heinz Land held out the prospect that digitization would bring people back into focus.

Live remote treatment
Although the prohibition of remote treatment was relaxed in Germany just under a year ago, medical advice via telephone, video consultation or online chat is far from being common practice. With the assistant MD Medicus, who has long experience with the digital care of patients abroad, several care scenarios were played through live: a middle ear infection in Kenya, a painful eye in India and an injured ankle joint in Bolivia. How does a visit to a digital doctor's office proceed from registration via security app to appointment making and virtual waiting room and finally to video consultation with one of the permanently employed specialists? In the first two cases, the patient was provided with simple treatment options by the doctor in Germany. In the case of an injured foot, the first treatment of the South American colleagues was corrected and the patient was immediately transferred into a clinic.

Sick abroad
In the subsequent panel discussion, doctors, lawyers, insurers and patients discussed the possibilities and limits of telemedicine. The panel discussion also addressed the question of whether volunteers and development workers abroad cause harm to the local health system when they make use of the medical video consultation instead of going to the doctor on site. Sven Scharff of MD Medicus, which has been providing medical assistance and services for over 25 years, spoke out strongly against making patients the economic factor in the country where they are. According to him, corruption needs to be prevented: He claimed it is common practice in many countries that everyone, from taxi drivers to chief physicians, earns money from unnecessary and overpriced care for foreigners. His team of doctors can help with medical questions in over 20 languages: Doctors in Germany, for example, arrange physician-patient and physician-physician talks conducted in their mother tongue, as do emergency doctors and paramedics. They use telemedicine to monitor wounds and dressings, gain an impression of hospitals and prevent many from being admitted to an expensive private clinic. 

Volunteers between freedom and security
A talk by Anette Schwitzke, trainer in the field of peace, conflict and security, illustrated the strong need for security among young people doing voluntary service. German youths are characterized by strong individualization and have high expectations of the sending organizations. The organizations are particularly aware of their duty of care. More inclusion, which goes along with psychological and physical impairments, presents them with additional challenges. A support for both sides - organizations like volunteers - is the new security app with telemedicine and emergency button. The expert for travel and international insurance DR-WALTER presented it in Siegburg: It was developed to enable the young helpers abroad to contact the doctor quickly and easily.

Gene Nealon and Anders Blak from Global Benefits Group (GBG) spoke about microinsurances for low-income households in developing countries. The international insurer and reinsurer provides coverage for people with low wealth and savings. The new insurance concepts are made possible by Fintech and Insurtech technologies.

Why we don't need a second planet
The Security Forum concluded with the inspiring talk "Earth 5.0 - Provoke the Future" by Karl-Heinz Land: The visionary held out the prospect that, despite population growth, migration, climate change, environmental pollution, income and wealth inequality, digitization and increasing cyber-dependency, people would once again come into focus in the end. His credo "Digitization doesn't change anything ... only EVERYTHING": Those who don't face it can only lose.

You can find the talks here.