Faces of Digital Health

Faces of Digital Health

A podcast about digital health and how healthcare systems adopt technologies.

Europe: How are Slovenia, Germany and the Netherlands Envisioning Future Healthcare Digitalization?

If it seems that the world is moving faster and faster with the rapid evolution of AI and other technologies, the digitalization of healthcare infrastructure is not changing with that speed. However, countries across Europe are ambitiously pursuing digitalization efforts.  On top of that, under the European Health Data Space legal framework,  countries in the European Union are building the MyHealth @EU infrastructure which aims to enable cross-border health information accessibility and services. In this episode, you will get an insight in the state of healthcare and digitalization in Germany, the Netherlands, and Slovenia. All three countries have published their new digitalization strategies in the last 6 months.  Slovenia plans to gradually expand the annual budget for eHealth from 6 million EUR to 80 million. Hospitals in Germany received 4,3 billion EUR for digitalization projects and need to demonstrate by 2024, that funded projects have been implemented and are making an impact. The Netherlands passed a new electronic Data exchange in healthcare law in April and plans on spending 1,4 billion for healthcare digitalization by 2026.  The challenge with healthcare digitalization and reforms are complex, due to various data privacy concerns, the digital divide, integration issues among different healthcare information systems, different complexities of healthcare systems’ design, and legal constraints from the past, that now need to be changed.  You will hear more in this discussion with the representatives of healthcare ministries in Slovenia, Germany, and the Netherlands.  Speakers:  Alenka Kolar, Acting Director-General Directorate for Digitalisation in Healthcare at the Ministry of Health Slovenia  Sebastian Zilch, Head of e-Health, Gematik & Telematics Infrastructure at the German Federal Ministry of Health Bianca Rowenhorst, CIO Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Sports in the Netherlands
June 1, 2023

LATAM Ep.2: Argentina: Great Medical Education System and Turbulent Political Instability

South America is a large market, with great potential from the language perspective, since Spanish is the official language in most countries, except for Brazil. But what are the specifics of the region? In this episode Santiago Troncar, the founder of Future Docs Latin America, shares his insights on healthcare digitalization in Argentina. He discusses the strengths and challenges of the healthcare system, including the high level of human and software resources, but also the economic crisis and disparities across the country. Santiago highlights the importance of electronic health records and patient empowerment and shares an example of innovative AI-powered breast cancer screening technology. Past episode in LATAM Series: Healthcare digitalization in South America Ep. 1: How digital is Peru? (Jhonatan Bringas) Website: Newsletter:
May 26, 2023

Cerebral: The Future Potential in Mental Health Lies in Leveraging AI For Care Provision

Access to mental health services wasn’t great before the pandemic. Then two things happened: the need for mental health services increased. But so has access to telemedicine providers of mental health support. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) enabled flexibilities regarding the prescription of controlled medications. In 2020, the Food and Drug Administration announced a pandemic enforcement policy allowing mental health app developers to release certain treatment products without seeking authorization from the agency. Cerebral is a US online therapy provider, founded in 2019. In 2021, the company raised close to half a billion dollars and was valued at 4.8 billions USD. Even Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, who withdraw from the Olympic games in Tokyo in 2020 due to personal mental health struggles, and became a public advocate for a new attitude and public perception of how we approach mental health, struck a partnership with Cerebral, joining as an investor and its chief impact officer. But then in 2022, things started to shift in the opposite direction, due to allegations of unsafe prescribing practices. The Wall Street Journal, Insider, and other media publications investigated and reported about these through the accounts of patients and former employees, and the Department of Justice launched an investigation about "possible violations" of the Controlled Substances Act. Eventually, in 2022, the company dropped prescribing of Controlled Substance Prescriptions entirely. Today Cerebral is moving forward and is betting on quality mental health provision, with high hopes around enhancements that could be achieved with the help of AI. In today’s discussion, you will hear from Cerebral’s CEO David Mou, talk about: The current state of telemedicine, and the changing legislation about required in-person visits for prescriptions, Speed and quality of mental health diagnosis and treatment through telemedicine, The role of AI in mental health Website: Newsletter: Read more on mental health:
May 18, 2023

Healthcare digitalization in South America Ep. 1: How digital is Peru? (Jhonatan Bringas)

After a series about digital health in the APAC region,  this is the first episode about healthcare and digital health in South America.  Speaker: Peruvian clinician and innovation Jhonatan Bringas Dimitriades, MD. Jhonatan is based in the Netherlands, work across continents as an MD and executive at various tech companies. We discussed healthcare digitalization in Peru, Topics:  The state of healthcare digitalization in Peru and other countries in Latin America. Opportunities and challenges for startups working with public hospitals in Peru. The need for more education and training in artificial intelligence for healthcare professionals in Latin America. The potential for technology to address issues of access, high mortality rates, and other epidemiological issues in Peru and other countries in the region. The importance of validated data in understanding ethnicities and epidemiological components in Latin America. Past episodes on South America:  Website: Newsletter:
May 13, 2023

Women’s Health Globally: What Does It Mean in Different Cultures?

Women's Health has increasingly garnered attention, with growing research, investments, and discussions surrounding the topic. Although overall digital health investments experienced a decline last year compared to previous years, the proportion of funds allocated to femtech within the digital health budget has seen an upward trend. However, there is still significant progress to be made. Women's health encompasses more than just pregnancy care, breast and ovarian cancer, or fertility. It also includes addressing gender-based violence and promoting pleasure. In today's episode, we will be hearing from Shamala Hinrichsen - Founder and CEO - Hanai, an application providing reliable health information to the underserved communities in Malaysia and Africa and Mariatheresa Samson Kadushi - Founder and CEO of Mobile Afya - the first USSD application in Africa using internet-free mobile technology to provide basic health information in local and native languages starting with Swahili in Tanzania, East Africa.  Mariatheresa and Shamala were already on Faces of digital health in 2021: Tune in: F126 How is Tradition Hindering Health Literacy in Kenya, Tanzania and Malaysia? (Shamala Hinrichsen, Mariatheresa Samson Kadushi):  The reason this is important is, that, based on the meeting on this show, Shamala and Mariatheresa are now building a new app together. Sheher app aims to address the gap in knowledge about female health, which goes beyond pregnancy-related issues. They bring medical education and access while also bringing women into the conversation through personal stories validated by medical info. Their team brings cultural diversity as well as generational differences to tackle this broad aspect of women's health globally.  More about She Her App: Website: Newsletter: Show notes: Introducing the speakers (00:08-02:49) Topics covered under Mobile Afia and Hanai (03:33-06:35) The importance of sharing personal stories backed up by medical information (09:01-14:57) Differences between the new app and previous projects (15:11-17:48) Adapting technology to cultural contexts (27:03-31:19) The impact of the app, investments in research and solutions for femtech (33:05-42:48)
May 7, 2023

APAC Series Ep. 4: What is Fueling Hesitancy Towards Telemedicine in South Korea? (Mira Kang)

In South Korea, life expectancy at birth was 82.7 years in 2017, higher than the OECD average of 80.8. At the moment, Korea has one of the youngest populations among OECD countries, with only 13.8% aged 65 or over. This is expected to increase considerably in the next decades. At HIMSS 2023 in Chicago Mira Kang Vice Chief Medical Information Officer at the Samsung Medical Center in South Korea explained why a country that is an IT powerhouse and has fast-speed internet is widely available, isn't embracing telemedicine. Koreans access a lot of services through their mobile phones, and hospitals are introducing AI, robots and data-driven precision medicine.  The health security system in Korea has two components: mandatory social health insurance, which provides healthcare coverage to all citizens, and is funded through contributions from those who are insured and government subsidies. The second part is the medical aid program, which is a form of public assistance that uses government subsidies to provide low-income groups with healthcare services. While the rest of the world is increasingly looking at virtual care and telemedicine for healthcare sustainability and ease of access to healthcare services, telemedicine will likely be forbidden again soon since the pandemic has ended. 
April 30, 2023
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Faces of Digital Health

Faces of Digital Health explores the speed at which healthcare systems around the world are adopting digital transformation. Specially curated discussions with carefully selected speakers challenge overtly hyped assumptions about the modern state of healthcare innovation. The podcast’s primary goal is to share the insight required to facilitate the necessary discussion that will start improving healthcare on a global scale.


Tjasa Zajc

Tjasa Zajc

Tjaša Zajc is a former healthcare journalist with a passion for digital health. She regularly explores how different cultures and people alike, approach the complexities of healthcare around the world. She has a Masters degree in healthcare management and economics from the University of Ljubljana.

After years of experience in healthcare journalism and event management, she started exploring the effects of IT adoption in the digital health industry through business development and communications management in healthcare IT, currently as part of the OPENeP ePMA team at Better.

She is also an ambassador of FTR4H Global Hub for Digital Health, and active member of the Slovenian digital health community was a mentor in Startupbootcamp Digital Health Berlin and a contributor to MedTech Engine, among other things.

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