COVID-19 – an opportunity for the Austrian health system

On Sept. 17th  2020, the Health Hub Vienna Innovation Day presented itself as a platform for discussing an explosive topic: should COVID-driven solutions be maintained, and further developed? Or should we strive for a return to previous frameworks, to “business as usual”?

Together with the Austrian Federation of Social Insurances, the Health Hub Vienna invited stakeholders and experts of the Austrian health care system to the Innovation Day. The aim was to discuss new ideas and possibilities for the digitalization of the health care system and to present the conclusions of their white paper titled “COVID-19 – an opportunity for health care in Austria”.

The pandemic triggered a series of innovations and creative solutions, implemented swiftly as they became suddenly indispensable. Many of the new solutions are proving their worth, demonstrating the necessity of Digital Health. Austria showed great potential to become a leader in this field due to its unique size and position in the DACH region.

“We at Health Hub Vienna and together with our partners, have made it our task to be a driving force in the digitalization of the health system in Austria and Europe”, emphasized Dr. Irene Fialka, CEO INiTS & Managing Director Health Hub Vienna, in her welcoming statement.

DI Martin Brunninger, MEng, MSc, Director General of with the Austrian Federation of Social Insurances, pointed out in his opening remarks that “the recent period has highlighted the undeniable need for digital health solutions in health care worldwide.

There is a strong consensus that there has been massive growth, especially in the last six months. Stakeholders believe that it is important to preserve this progress and actively create a new normality”.

The conditions for successful digitalization were discussed on the podium, composed of:

  • Nora Blum, PhD, Co-Founder and CEO, Selfapy
  • Andrea Vincenzo Braga, MBA, Vice President TELEMED Austria (Austrian Society for Telemedicine), MD and telemedicine entrepreneur
  • DI Martin Brunninger, MEng, MSc, Director General, Austrian Federation of Social Insurances
  • Michael Hackl, digitisation coordinator ITSV (Social Security IT Services)
  • DI Dr. Günter Rauchegger, MBA, Managing Director ELGA, Electronic Patient Record
  • Reka Szentgyörgyi, Senior Physician in charge of Radiology, Rudolfinerhaus Private Clinic
  • Hubert Wackerle, MBA, CEO ITSV (Social Security IT Services)

Three concrete showcases already showed successful solutions and start-up/corporate cooperation in Austria:

  • SCARLETRED – an international tele-dermatology company providing novel products for demanding applications in the digital analysis and therapeutic treatment of skin diseases. They partner up with Novartis Oncology to optimize therapy management in a specific type of cancer.
  • wellabe – enables people to record vital parameters, implement health check-ups and to understand and actively shape their own health. Together with Uniqa, they are bringing a mobile solution to companies and provide convenient and efficient health care for employees.
  • – the “Netflix of healthcare” uses the potential of patient-generated data to enable and offer personalized healthcare solutions. Their approach is evidence-based and cost-efficient. Together with the Vinzengruppe, they were able to relocate outpatient operations to patients’ home and make medical care available digitally while maintaining the necessary data security.

The hybrid event had a limited guest-list on site, but attracted over 200 digital  viewers who were able to follow the livestream as well as the various presentations and networking sessions online.

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