Innovation in Health Care: A German Perspective
On May 20, 2015 JFK Atlantic Forum Chairman John Kornblum hosted a high level dinner at the American Academy in Berlin in honor of Sandra Peterson, Group Worldwide Chairman of John& Johnson health care company.
Twenty four guests from industry, academia and government, including young entrepreneurs, heard presentations by Ms. Peterson and Klaus-Peter Schöppnere of Mentfactum GmbH who discussed public impressions of health care in Germany. (Guest list as PDF)
The ensuing two hour discussion focused primarily on what sort of innovation was needed in the health care field and how it could be achieved. There was broad agreement that mere production of new medicines and therapies was not the main answer. A new synthesis of pharma, medical treatment, care facilities and concepts of health care was needed. As the population ages, prevention of health problems and quality of life will become increasingly important.
Ms. Peterson described how Johnson& Johnson is seeking to redefine itself in two ways. First, to find a new paradigm for health care which increasingly focuses on quality of life. Second, to learn better how to integrate new information technology and data utilization to improve existing therapies. Ms. Peterson described some very interesting results of these efforts.
This led to a detailed discussion of the evolution of information technology and the debate in Germany over data protection. It was generally agreed that Europe had lost the initiative on information technology to the United States, but it was clear to many participants how the many issues could be used to improve productivity.
The discussion concluded with a consensus that the German system was functioning well, but that as in other parts of the economy, it was not taking enough advantage of modern technology, especially information technology.
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills …”