Education 4.0: Medical technology meets digitization

New recruits in medicine and nursing care are more in demand than ever before. Central Hessen offers promising career opportunities in the field of health management with future-oriented training and study programs. In this interview Prof. Dr. Harald Renz, medical managing director of the University Hospital Marburg and Prof. Dr. med. Holger Thiemann, course of studies leader in Medical Management at the Technical University of Central Hessen (THM) explain why, as a result, digitalization is so important.

Studium 4.0: Medizinwirtschaft trifft Digitalisierung
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Fewer and fewer graduates are choosing an occupation within the medical field. What are the reasons for this?

Renz: Most medical professions are not family-friendly. Therefore, we should develop new study concepts – for example, young women should also have the opportunity to reconcile career and family. Part-time study programs are one possibility. The problem is that the training then lasts up to ten years. The standard five-year period of study for a medical specialty becomes twice as long. For the senior physician, even more years of study are added. In order to counteract the shortage of specialists, new family-friendly working models are urgently needed.

Prof. Dr. Harald Renz
Prof. Dr. Harald Renz
medical managing director of the University Hospital Marburg
Prof. Dr. Holger Thiemann
Prof. Dr. med. Holger Thiemann
Course of studies leader in Medical Management at the Technical University of Central Hessen (THM)

Thiemann: In the past, doctors accepted a working week of up to 80 hours as a heroic achievement. Today, the focus is on a work-life balance, which can often only be guaranteed to a limited extent in the medical field. This makes these professions increasingly unattractive. Many doctors don’t want to go into private practice, e.g. they stay in research, go into the pharmaceutical industry, consulting, etc. However, we cannot compensate for the lack of practicing physicians. 

The courses of study in the Health Department of the THM focus on relieving these deficits in the medical profession. In the Medical Management degree program, we not only teach administrative activities, but also provide broad clinical knowledge. This ranges from economics, sociology and law to medical business administration, and anatomy and physiology.

Why does Central Hessen in particular offer good career prospects in the medical field?

Renz: This region is optimally connected with the University Clinic of Giessen and Marburg, two universities and the Technical University Mittelhessen (THM). We are a very research-strong region, closely interwoven with the medical industry. There are many Hessen companies that work hand in hand with researchers and universities. In collaboration with doctors, many medical devices are developed here.

Profile: Medical Management

  • practical course of studies: imparting theoretical knowledge and practice
  • core competencies: management, project management, business administration, medical basics
  • organizational tasks for health and nursing management
  • the course is ideal for people who have a university entrance qualification or “Abitur” (a high school diploma)
  • innovative course of studies with good professional opportunities

What fascinates you about your department?

Renz: In laboratory medicine, we are interested in understanding diseases. We want to know what are the dysregulations in the body that lead people to develop chronic inflammatory diseases. It’s exciting to investigate the causes of these diseases. What is special for me is witnessing the entire research cycle: from understanding the disease to developing diagnostics and therapy concepts.

Thiemann: I’m always fascinated by the connection between theory while teaching in the medical management field and practice. Our study program differs from previous, mostly very theoretical courses, with little practical relevance. Our program graduates give us positive feedback. There are three to four job offers wait for each graduate in the Medical Informatics study program. Many companies in the region also offer topics for bachelor theses. This creates added value for the company, the practical relevance of the thesis work increases, and the students have a good chance of being taken on as permanent employees.

Studium 4.0: Medizinwirtschaft trifft Digitalisierung

Profile: Medical Informatics

  • focus on digitization
  • knowledge of general computer science; medical basics of anatomy, physiology, diagnosis and therapy methods will be imparted
  • adaptation of medical processes with IT tools
  • career opportunities: hospitals, doctors in private practice, software and hardware manufacturers
  • innovative study program with good professional opportunities

What do you advise people to do who are undecided when choosing a career?

Renz: You should try out internships in order to gain an insight into everyday working life. Laboratory medicine, for example, offers a number of advantages: an extremely family-friendly environment, independent organization in the laboratory and in medicine, and no high burden from on-call and weekend services. Once you have completed your specialist training, nothing stands in the way of excellent career prospects.

Thiemann: The profession should be fun – you shouldn’t look first for earning opportunities. Student counselling can help you to visualize what you like and what skills you have. We aim to teach in an application-oriented way – then you will quickly realize whether this study program is the right one for you.

Prof Thiemann THM

What is the significance of digitization for the medical sector?

Renz: Digitization has become indispensable in medicine today. The demand is huge. At our institute, we have over 200 interfaces with our laboratory information system, the various analysis platforms and devices to all our senders such as outpatient departments and wards. With the electronic health record, we can assess the patient’s medical situation much better and recognize their health history. With just one click, we can see who are receiving treatment, what medications they are taking and whether there are any potential interactions with other medications. And artificial intelligence is already making our daily medical lives easier. However, we still face major challenges in this area. But I am convinced that AI will take on much larger tasks in the future.

Thiemann: Digitization is also progressing rapidly in hospitals – there are enormous transformational processes ahead. We want to implement what is already commonplace in other industries into the medical industry. For example, in an emergency, a tablet’s software transfers all patient data from an ambulance directly to the hospital. Thus, the doctors are optimally prepared when the patient arrives. These are the digital projects we want to support. Their implementation requires highly qualified professionals. Our courses prepare the students for this digital transformation and train them optimally for it.

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