Digital Health Spark - Igniting Need-Driven Innovation (Winter Term 2023/24)

Dr. Frank Pawlitschek


Join our 2-weeks program, designed for 18 students from the Digital Health realm ready to explore and innovate in healthcare. This program offers a practical glimpse into various clinical settings through shadowing, allowing students to directly observe and understand everyday challenges in healthcare. Our focus is on teaching a need-driven and value-based approach to HealthTech, equipping you with the skills to critically analyze and improve healthcare. Work in small, interdisciplinary teams to tackle real-life problems and develop sustainable solutions.

offered with support from Prof. Dr. Ariel Stern (Digital Health Cluster), Dr. Philipp Stoffers (School of Entrepreneurship), Linea Schmidt (Data Analytics and Computational Statistics), Constanze Cavalier (Digital Health Cluster), David Hahn (School of Entrepreneurship)




Course Information

  • Time investment: 4 semester hours per week, (done in one block from March 4th - March 15th 2024)
  • ECTS: 6
  • Module selection at HPI:
  • Graded: Yes
  • Application period: Jan 26th 2024, acceptance e-mails by Feb 1st 2024
  • Teaching form: Project seminar
  • Type of course: Elective module
  • Teaching language: English
  • Maximum number of participants: 18


The "Digital Health Spark - Igniting need-driven innovation in healthcare" is a comprehensive two-week program for master's students, PhD students, and postdocs in the field of digital health at HPI. The core activities of the program include observation periods (shadowing) at Vivantes Hospital Berlin, where students are immersed in the daily work of various clinical areas. This is designed to provide first-hand experience with the challenges of the healthcare system.

The course is structured according to the principles of the Stanford Biodesign Process. It begins with a focus on problem identification (need-finding) in healthcare, encouraging students to observe and understand various problem areas firsthand. Students are then guided through the initial stages of formulating solution approaches (concept generation), a critical skill in healthcare innovation.

Ideas are refined and worked through in regular group work and reflection sessions.

The program culminates in a presentation by each team, followed by a celebration at Vivantes. 

This blend of practical exposure, theoretical knowledge, and innovation-driven activities makes “Digital Health Spark - Igniting need-driven innovation in healthcare” a unique and valuable experience for students seeking to make a significant impact in the field of healthcare technology.

PS: Teams that identify a compelling need are encouraged to take their concepts to the School of Entrepreneurship's Product Builder after the Digital Health Spark program for the opportunity to continue working on the identified need.

Lectures on the following topics:

  • Digital hospital
  • Idea generation (e.g. through design thinking)
  • Persona creation and 4-Aims in the healthcare sector
  • Medical devices and clinical evaluation plan
  • Value Based Healthcare
  • Behaviour in everyday hospital life / dealing with hospital staff & patients
  • Business models in the healthcare sector
  • Shadowing of clinical staff in two clinical areas
  • Group work and reflection phases → Concretisation of an idea for technology transfer or setting up a business in the healthcare sector

Qualification objectives

  • Professional Competence

    • Understanding of the fields of application of digital medicine and its potential for solving clinical and nursing problems

    • Evaluation of the benefits of digital solutions for patients and healthcare professionals

    • Identification of technical requirements for digital solutions in medicine

    • Knowledge of the regulations and ethical principles applicable to medical devices

    • Understanding of possible financing models in the healthcare sector

    • Differentiate between the various key players in the medical device sector.

  • Entrepreneurial Thinking and Behaviour

    • Recognising and implementing opportunities and ideas to create value for others, including translating innovations into potential business start-ups.

  • Innovation

  • Development of Knowledge, 

Key Dates

  • 26.01.2024 Application Deadline
  • 01.02.2024 Confirmation of Participatcion
  • 04.03.2024 - 15.03.2024 Class
  • 24.03.2024 Final Report Submission Deadline

Lecture Schedule

Preliminary schedule. All lecture topics are subject to change.

Lecture Plan (preliminary):

Day 1 - 04.03.2024 - Welcome Session, Digital Hospital, Persona, Lightning Talks (at HPI)

Day 2 - 05.03.2024 - Design Thinking, Medical Device Regulations, Value-Based Healthcare (at HPI)

Day 3 - 06.03.2024 - Shadowing at Vivantes Berlin 

Day 4 - 07.03.2024 - Shadowing at Vivantes Berlin 

Day 5 - 08.03.2024 - Business Models in Healthcare & Group Work  (at HPI)

Day 6 - 11.03.2024 - Input Session: Pitch & Group Work  (at HPI)

Day 7 - 12.03.2024 - Shadowing at Vivantes Berlin 

Day 8 - 13.03.2024 - Lightning Talk & Group Work  (at HPI)

Day 9 - 14.03.2024 - Shadowing at Vivantes Berlin 

Day 10 - 15.03.2024 - Presentation Preparation & Final Presentations at Vivantes Berlin 


The assessment takes place via a presentation and associated project documentation. Details will be given in class.

All grades are recorded as a team grade. Please contact the study department if you do not want to participate in the performance recording (8-day rule). The day of performance recording according to the 8-day rule is Friday, 15.03.2024.

Note for external students

Since the Digital Health Spark is a course within the curriculum of the Hasso Platter Institute, we cannot guarantee whether and to what extent the ECTS points earned in this course will be recognized at another university. We therefore ask you to clarify with your respective study department whether recognition is possible. Of course, we wIll be happy to issue a certiticate of achievement.