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The year 2020 has drawn a great deal of attention to the topic of health and created new political and legal framework conditions for digitalisation in the health sector. How these can be used as quickly as possible for the benefit of all involved and how Germany can catch up in the area of digitalisation in healthcare is the subject of Prof Dr Dominik Böhler’s research. He is a new professor at the European Campus Rottal-Inn (ECRI) of the Deggendorf Institute of Technology (DIT).

In his field of expertise, “Management in Digital Healthcare”, Böhler deals with the digitalisation of processes and digital business models in the healthcare sector. It is therefore not surprising that the past year was also a particularly formative one for Prof Böhler in professional terms. For him, the pandemic has shown that health is a valuable commodity and that the obvious “under-digitalisation” in the health sector creates many points of friction for all involved. However, in his eyes, this also offers immense opportunities for young talent with new ideas. Seeing how start-ups in the health sector bring new technologies to a supposedly highly regulated market and how the confidence of individuals with a strong vision can positively change the reality of many people fascinates him every time.

When it comes to start-ups and new ideas, Böhler knows what he is talking about. After studying business administration and earning his doctorate in business informatics on the topic of “What influence does AI have on organisations?”, he took over as head of entrepreneurship education at UnternehmenTUM. There he dealt with the question of how project-based learning can work in large numbers and high quality and accompanied over 2,000 project teams and over 150 start-ups. He was also involved in setting up the Digital Health Summit in Munich.

At DIT, he wants to advance applied research in the health sector quickly and pragmatically and make healthcare in rural areas and the global south more digital and better. He has also set himself the goal of developing new business models in the health sector with established companies. For Böhler, there are too many hurdles, especially in higher education and health care, and too few who really break them down. We need more courageous people like Bertha Benz, who led the way at the beginning of the last great transformation: get on and go. Because especially in a time of transformation, as is currently the case, holding on to the tires and tested is, in his opinion, a bad strategy.

As a pragmatic, performance-oriented idealist, Prof Böhler finds it a sense of achievement to achieve goals together with little resources and a lot of enthusiasm. He should thus easily succeed in inspiring, challenging and encouraging his students. His wife and two sons provide the necessary grounding for all these ideas.

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Artificial intelligence, tourism, civil engineering, media technology or something completely different – with more than 60 different Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes, there is something for everyone at the Deggendorf Institute of Technology (DIT). Those who want to get hold of one of the study places for the winter semester 2021 for start in October can apply for it from 15 April until 15 July.

Since 1994, DIT has developed into one of the most successful new universities of applied sciences founded in the 1990s. Today, more than 8,000 students study at the campuses in Deggendorf and Pfarrkirchen. The range of courses is constantly being expanded. New in the winter semester 2021, for example, are the English-language Bachelor’s programme Artificial Intelligence, the part-time German-language Master’s programme Digital Business Engineering, the Bachelor’s programme Interdisciplinary Engineering Sciences and the Master’s programme Applied Sports Sciences. Because there are more and more degree programmes at DIT, undecided students will be able to try out various subjects and also studying in general for the first time from the winter semester 2021 in form of an orientation study programme. In one to two semesters, young students will have the opportunity to get a taste of various degree programmes. Prerequisites for the orientation study at DIT are a university entrance qualification, e.g. the Abitur, and a letter of motivation. Interested students can apply via DIT’s applicant portal. Even if it is not currently possible to come to the campus in person, the university offers a wide range of online services to provide information about the degree programmes and campus life in Deggendorf. Prospective students can take part in webinars on degree programmes or on student finance. The Centre for Student Advise also provides support on individual degree programmes via phone, WhatsApp or video chat.

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The Deggendorf-based start-up Quimedo has taken second place in this year's Ideenreich business plan competition. The competition, sponsored by Bayern Kapital, is organised by BayStartUP and takes place in cooperation with the Gründerzentrum Digitalisierung Niederbayern (GZDN). Innovative founders from south-eastern Bavaria who are in the process of setting up a company are supported. In this context, Dr. Timo Steininger, founder of Quimedo, also applied and convinced the jury.

The idea of the start-up was born in 2019, namely to digitalise and simplify the transition of patients from inpatient treatment to rehabilitation/nursing or from home to care with the app Quimedo. Via the app, healthcare facilities enter free capacities as well as possible forms of treatment. Within a very short time, patients can be referred directly to the right place for optimal treatment. The digital networking is an enormous relief for the nursing staff. The start-up was founded in October 2020, with Prof. Dr. Thomas Geiß and Prof. Dr. Christian Rester from the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences supporting the team throughout the entire start-up process. Quimedo is based in Deggendorf with founder Dr. Timo Steininger, co-managing director Stefan Klein and four employees. They use the coworking space of the start-up centre at ITC1, where Thomas Keller (managing director of ITC1) is a strong partner.  An important factor of the app is user-friendliness. Therefore, the platform should also be put through its paces. Students of the Health Informatics degree programme agreed to check the usability of the Quimedo app during the test phase. In January 2021, the time had come - the app could go live. Since then, it has been confirmed that the platform works very well. A large number of successful patient referrals have already been made.  The Deggendorf Institute of Technology (DIT) is a valuable partner for Quimedo. DIT has been heavily involved in building up the network in the eastern Bavarian region. In the meantime, many joint projects are underway, such as AI in care. Founder Dr Timo Steininger himself will be head of the practical nursing department at the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences from 1 April 2021. One of Steininger's goals is to dovetail science and Quimedo in the long term.

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