Hasso-Plattner-Institut25 Jahre HPI
Hasso-Plattner-Institut25 Jahre HPI


Prof. Ariel Dora Stern holds her inaugural lecture at HPI on the digital revolution in healthcare

In her inaugural lecture on June 26, the Humboldt Professorship 2024 awardee spoke about the transformation of digital health.

Inaugural lecture of Prof. Ariel Dora Stern

Prof. Ariel Dora Stern has headed the "Digital Health, Economics & Policy" department at HPI since April 2024. On June 26, she held her inaugural lecture in front of students, colleagues, family and companions. In her lecture, she focused on the digital revolution in healthcare and the challenges, opportunities and resulting regulatory issues.

She began by presenting the approach and topics of her research. As a health economist, her research is firmly anchored in the fields of health economics, management and data science. She is particularly interested in new biomedical procedures that have only emerged in recent years and are thus reshaping the field of digital health. An interdisciplinary focus is particularly important to her.

Her research interests span the field of digital medicine and health economics: from innovations in medical devices and software, the economics of precision medicine, the digital transformation of clinical research and practice, as well as new approaches in regulation that the use of digital health technologies entails, to the growing field of AI applications in the healthcare sector.

One of the biggest challenges in the current healthcare system is the institutional mismatch between the state of regulation and the speed of progress in the field of digital health. The healthcare system is often still stuck in regulatory structures that were established long before the spread of digital technologies and have not been adapted since.

However, precisely tailored regulatory innovations are needed in order to bring new therapies and medicines to the market more quickly or at lower cost, while also meeting the necessary quality standards. The "Breakthrough Therapy Designation" process of the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S., which shortens clinical trials of promising drugs through simplified procedures and intensive support without any signs of a loss of quality, could offer an approach to this. Prof. Stern also sees this as a sign for her research focus that targeted regulatory innovations can shorten research and development times without sacrificing product quality.

To conclude her inaugural lecture, Prof. Stern looked at the Digital Healthcare Act passed in Germany in 2019, which she sees as a positive example of an innovative pathway for the combined regulation and reimbursement of evidence-based digital health applications. As part of the statutory health insurance system in Germany, 56 digital health applications are already available and reimbursable for all insured patients.

Prof. Stern closed her presentation with a quote from former Canadian ice hockey player Wayne Gretzky, which also applies to her research projects: "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been." She is looking forward to looking to the future in her work at HPI and using her research to help ensure that we are as well prepared as possible for future developments in healthcare.

After an extraordinarily big round of applause, the audience had the chance to ask Prof. Stern a few more questions. The recording of the lecture and the Q&A session is available online at: https://www.tele-task.de/series/1517/ 

Photo Gallery

Photos: HPI/K. Herschelmann