Why did you create a Digital Health and Patient Safety Platform?

FoundersLane
FoundersLane
Published in
5 min readFeb 17, 2021

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An Interview with Atanas Atanasov — by Sven Jungmann

A fairly recent systematic review and meta-analysis in the BMJ concluded that around one in 20 patients are exposed to preventable harm in medical care (Panagioti 2019). Although a focus on preventable patient harm has been encouraged by the international patient safety policy agenda, we aren’t nearly where we should be. On top of the many human tragedies that result from these errors, damage to society is also grave: It is estimated that 10–15% of healthcare expenditure is consumed by the direct sequelae of healthcare-related patient harm.

At FoundersLane, we strongly believe that digital health solutions can efficiently lead to significant safety improvements. We’re pleased to see that the Medical University of Vienna, has created the Digital Health and Patient Safety Platform (DHPSP) in the summer of 2020, of which FoundersLane is now a member.

It aims to bring together scientists, industry representatives, healthcare professionals, patient and patient organization representatives, and everybody else interested in the topics of digital health, patient safety, and personalized medicine.

DHPSP applies open innovation concepts in order to stimulate collaborative research, science-based communication, and the development of new innovative products and solutions, with the overall goal to promote personalized medicine and achieve better utilization of digital technologies to improve human health and patient safety.

Dr Sven Jungmann, our Chief Medical Officer, spoke with Atanas G. Atanasov, to learn more about the DHPSP. Atanas is a biotechnologist, prolific researcher, and social media influencer, who is Principle Investigator of Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Digital Health and Patient Safety at Medical University of Vienna, Adjunct Professor at IGAB PAS, Guest-Professor at Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Guest-Lecturer at the University of Vienna, and Editor-in-Chief of Current Research in Biotechnology.

SJ: Atanas, why did you and your colleagues set out to create the Digital Health and Patient Safety Platform?

AA: Our journey started with the foundation of The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Digital Health and Patient Safety (LBI-DHPS), which was established at the end of 2019 as a new institute in the frame of the extra-university research establishment Ludwig Boltzmann Society at the Medical University of Vienna, Austria.

The creation of this new institute has been quite remarkable, since it involved the utilization of a unique “Open Innovation in Science” approach that was consequently awarded the prestigious ICPerMed ‘Best Practice in Personalised Medicine’ Recognition 2019, for best open innovation in science practice. The open innovation hub Digital Health and Patient Safety Platform (DHPSP) represents one of the important initiatives initiated within the new institute, with the aim to bring together in a collaborative environment healthcare professionals, industry representatives, scientists from relevant specialities, patients and members of the general public interested in the topics digital health, patient safety, and personalized medicine.

SJ: What is the vision for it?

AA: We aim to apply open innovation approaches to stimulate collaborative scientific studies and the development of digital products and solutions targeting the improvement of human health and patient safety. Our vision is to make DHPSP a premium resource for everybody interested in this area and to be a catalyzer of new collaborations as well as of the dissemination of relevant information that will be of interest to the concerned audience.

SJ: How is patient safety different in a digital health context?

AA: Digital tools are the future of patient safety. In a recent research study, we have performed an in-depth analysis of the entire scientific literature on medical errors (which is a critical determinant of patient safety). The analysis of the identified 12,415 publications concerning medical errors indeed revealed as one of the major conclusions of the study that digital health technology applications are perceived in the scientific community to be of especially great promise to combat medical errors. Indeed, digital tools can find their place in many different medical settings, helping to predict, document, and prevent the occurrence of medical mistakes.

SJ: Coming from a very scientific background, what surprised you the most about digital health?

AA: The rapid development of the entire digital health area since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic came as a big surprise. We knew of course already in advance for all advantages and benefits that can be attained with the use of digital health tools — but the speed of recent developments came as a surprise (for example, think about telemedicine and its applicability as a tool to support social distancing between patients and healthcare professionals, the telemedicine area indeed experienced a huge boost in the pandemics environment).

SJ: Which of your skills as a scientist and social media influencer do you think are most valuable for your new work?

AA: Scientific rigour and perseverance and the management skills that I acquired through the leadership of teams and open innovation platforms will be very useful in the new endeavours. A multifaceted digital communication, dissemination, and networking toolkit assembled through previous experience is now also ready to be employed to full effect.

SJ: Thank you! We’re excited to explore how this platform will evolve.

To learn more about patient safety during digital health, feel free to reach out to Atanas for the DHPSP or Sven for FoundersLane best practices in the implementation of safety-enhancing digital health development.

Dr Sven Jungmann is a doctor-turned-entrepreneur. He is a partner at FoundersLane and an advisor to health start-ups and investors. Handelsblatt listed him among Germany’s smartest innovators. Sven has consulted Wellster Healthtech, the D2C health success case in Germany and continues doing so via an advisory board role. Wellster Healthtech has been promoting D2C in health early on.

FoundersLane, the leading Corporate Venture Builder for climate and health, was founded in 2016 by Felix Staeritz, Andreas von Oettingen, and Michael Stephanblome. The team develops digital business models in the health and climate sector by combining the agility and the mindset of technology entrepreneurs with the strength of corporations. FoundersLane draws on more than 20 years of experience by the founders in building up new companies.

FoundersLane creates new, fast-growing digital companies in categories that are highly topical and current. FoundersLane counts more than 100 founders, experts and entrepreneurs with great expertise in the fields of medicine, health, climate, disruptive technologies such as IoT connectivity, AI, and machine learning. Clients and partners include SMEs and corporations as well as more than 30 Forbes listed companies, such as Trumpf, Vattenfall, Henkel and Baloise. FoundersLane is active in Europe, MENA and Asia with offices in Berlin, Cologne, Vienna and London.

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FoundersLane
FoundersLane

Independent corporate company builder, co-creating digital businesses together with leading global corporations.