DH Vinzenz Gruppe
Connected health

Putting patients at the heart of digital healthcare

Modern patients are well informed and want to actively participate in their own healthcare. A new patient portal shows how this can be done.

Doreen Pfeiffer and Sophie Gräf
Published on March 11, 2024

Crowded waiting rooms, stressed medical staff, and time pressure during diagnostic examinations—these are familiar challenges faced by many healthcare facilities and they require urgent attention. The Vinzenz Gruppe, one of the largest private operators of non-profit healthcare facilities in Austria, is committed to expanding its digital patient portal to meet the ever-increasing demands.

“My personal health history has shown me how valuable it is to be able to talk with my trusted doctor in a secure digital setting. […] This offer has really made life a lot easier for me at a difficult time,” Gaby Pramberger says. Pramberger is one of the 70 patients of the Vinzenz Gruppe who was surveyed about the digital patient portal 'Hallo Gesundheit' for its further development.

The 'Hallo Gesundheit' application is based on the eHealth patient portal from Siemens Healthineers. Using a patient-centered approach, the solution was further developed in collaboration with the Vinzenz Gruppe. Thanks to this partnership, it has been possible to involve the users of the patient portal at every step of the development process. This enabled to fully understand the needs and to develop a user-friendly service which addresses the challenges the patients face and provides an optimized patient experience. The patient portal forms the basis for active patient engagement and participation, which facilitates a seamless exchange of health information and continuous care collaboration. The eHealth patient portal is available globally and can be adapted to the healthcare provider’s look and feel.

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The new digital health application supports and accompanies patients during their medical care, empowering them to play an active part in their own treatment plans.

After all, it should be the patients themselves who benefit most from digitalization in healthcare. The eHealth patient portal does more than just remind the patient of their next doctor’s appointment; it also facilitates digital consultations, reliably processes individual health data, and offers additional medical information.

This is a development that patient Gaby Pramberger strongly approves of: “You don’t feel left alone. I can also contact and communicate with my doctors from home. […] This way, I avoid unnecessary stress, long trips to appointments, and full waiting rooms.”

Virtual healthcare platforms are nothing new, but those that exist are rarely as well thought out as the ‘Hallo Gesundheit’ portal, which is designed to relieve pressure and stress for patients and medical professionals alike. The Vinzenz Gruppe’s vision was to offer some of their services in digital hybrid format in order to provide medical care that was no longer dependent on a specific time or location.

“Digitalization in the healthcare sector must be geared to people’s needs. For our healthcare professionals, we want to reduce their workloads and stress. For our patients, we want to enable more self-empowerment with our digital health platform,” says Dr. Michael Heinisch, CEO of the Vinzenz Gruppe, about the idea behind the concept. But how exactly does it work?

The Vinzenz Gruppe is one of the largest private operators of non-profit healthcare facilities in Austria. It is involved in nine hospitals as well as various nursing facilities, rehabilitation centers, and other healthcare facilities in Vienna, Upper Austria, and Lower Austria. For generations, people have trusted the medical treatment and care provided by the religious order hospitals in which the Vinzenz Gruppe is involved. In recent years, many new medical and nursing care offers as well as medical facilities have been added, and the approximately 10,000 employees currently working in these facilities are committed to a healthcare system in which skilled medical treatment and nursing care come from the heart [1].

It was clear from the word go that the patient portal had to be easy to understand and logical to use so as to cater for as many age groups as possible. The navigation had to be simple, limited to the most relevant content, and avoid using medical and technical terminology. The aim was not just to make the portal easy for patients use but also to encourage them to make the eHealth patient portal part of their own treatment path.

To make sure that ‘Hallo Gesundheit’ was really attuned to the needs of its users, over 70 patients and numerous specialists from the Vinzenz Gruppe were included in the development process from the very start. In collaboration with these volunteers, more than 130 experts from various fields developed the first models. The result of all the workshops, interviews, and evaluations was a patient portal that today makes treatment planning easier for all patients of the Vinzenz Gruppe.

By Doreen Pfeiffer and Sophie Gräf
Doreen Pfeiffer and Sophie Gräf are editors at Siemens Healthineers.