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September 17, 2015
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The healthcare sector uses advanced digital equipment that is supposed to accelerate medical progress and at the same time ensure economic efficiency. However, the gaps that exist are extremely worrying. In many highly developed advanced economies, and especially in Germany, there are already signs of the coming challenges connected with predicted population ageing and the associated shortage of doctors and the pressure on costs in the healthcare system. Here, technological progress in all its facets, from teleconsulting right through to 3D bioprinting, can dampen the increase in healthcare costs without adversely affecting quality. However, before this potential for boosting macroeconomic efficiency can be tapped there are economic, legal and societal obstacles that need to be surmounted (with regard to data protection, remuneration systems, education and network expansion, for example). The first steps in the right direction have already been taken – albeit with extreme caution and circumspection in some of these cases. In this respect it can certainly help to take a look at the industrial sector where digital technology is already making inroads under the “Industry 4.0” moniker. [more]