Sector 02/18

Let's get digital

The digital hub as a powerhouse for innovations at Rhenus Document Logistics

The approach that the Rhenus Group is pursuing in many of its business units is to have one provider for all services. Digitalisation is one of the most efficient levers for this in document management. A team has been specially established in this field to pave the way for the digital future at Rhenus Office Systems. 

Martin Schröder, Head of Digital Strategy, is the person heading the digital hub. He comments, “We’re focusing on providing support for our internal and external customers as they face the process of digital transformation and promoting this through our services.” He is pursuing two goals with his team:

Firstly, they are developing new digital products for customers, which are scalable in any sector, but also provide digital value added for existing services. Secondly, they are developing strategies and preparing measures to enable the process of digital transformation to continually move forward at Rhenus Office Systems. They include the general networking and ongoing development of the IT app landscape.

“Both goals are equally important to enable us to implement our all-round digital strategy at Rhenus Office Systems,” says Martin Schröder, fully aware of their importance. At the same time, it should be possible to adapt all the activities to customers from a wide variety of sectors – including health care and pharmaceuticals, insurance, property, banks or savings banks and the public sector.

The team has initially specialised in the health care sector. “Acquisitions that we made two years ago laid the foundation for this. We already have a strong presence in this market through the SYNIOS and IOS companies and we have the necessary sector expertise to justify our claim of helping to shape the hospital of the future,” says Claudia Hobohm, Managing Director of Rhenus Archive Services.

The hospital of the future
This is what the complete package might look like. A patient’s file contains things like diagnostic findings, treatment methods, the way the treatment has progressed and medication plans. However, the complete information about the patient is spread over nonconnected systems and formats. This means, for example, that some information like ultra-sound images or laboratory data is stored in the systems at the hospital in digital form. Other information is available in the patient’s paper file – for example, appropriate hand-written notes from the doctor’s round or from examinations. The paper files are normally moved to the archives after the end of the treatment and are rarely consulted at a later date. This arrangement creates a challenge for the hospital: it needs to make relevant information available in an integrated manner at the right place and at the right time – for example, to send invoices for services, to provide treatment that is geared towards the patient or to plan the medication.

IOS GmbH has been offering ground-breaking specialist knowledge and highly functional software integration as well as advice on process optimisation, document management and information processes since it was founded in 1988. Synios GmbH has been developing ECM solutions for document and information and even archive management to provide efficient support for workflows and processes since 1997; and it provides a number of services ranging from consultancy work to software integration and even implementing the systems. Both companies have been strengthening the expertise available at Rhenus Office Systems within the Rhenus Group since 2016.

It is necessary to scan paper files during the first stage in order to gather the information in hospitals and make it available in digital form; this is part of the digital transformation process for document logistics. The digitalised paper information can then be merged with the data that already exists digitally, linked using an intelligent content recognition system and made available within the hospital’s system. “The best thing about this is that they're learning systems; as a result, the processes are becoming more efficient all the time and are continuing to develop,” says Claudia Hobohm, describing the approach. “Using this solution, we can provide relevant information to our customers at the right place and at the right time as their digital document manager.”

The team is also developing new digital products to enable and simplify the process of recording information in digital form. Instead of making notes in a paper file, doctors write their comments on a tablet, create images of the documents that already exist or make voice recordings that are automatically transferred to the relevant systems in an intelligent manner. These new digital products also enable certain recurring processes to be automated and this not only improves the treatment at the hospital, but also the invoicing and monitoring procedures and a great deal more. “We’re already working on other innovative solutions for the hospital of the future in conjunction with our customers,” says Martin Schröder.

Speaking the same language as the customer
It is not only necessary to have digital expertise, but also specialist knowledge about the customer’s business in order to develop these comprehensive solutions for clients. The team gathered around Martin Schröder has adopted a special approach for this purpose. Depending on the sector and customer, experts join the team and they are familiar with and understand the processes, controlling powers and specifications of the sector. Martin Schröder explains the process. “This may involve bio-technicians, health care experts or engineers and they help us by speaking the same language as the customer. They can offer valuable insight within the sector as a result of their professional experience and expertise and this is very important for us in our product development work.” For example, the experts complete a survey at customers’ premises and process analyses as the interface between the digital hub and the customer, they introduce suggestions for improvements and pass on the relevant information to the team.

“Our customers expect a flexible and innovative expert for the process of digital transformation. We therefore need to be disruptive as a team, think differently and adopt new approaches too. Insight into different sectors is not only a great help here, but also exchanging ideas with other companies and start-ups. Let’s get digital!” says Martin Schröder.

Martin Schröder (34) was born in Rostock and has been responsible for the digitalisation strategy at Rhenus Office Systems since October 2017. Prior to this, he successfully provided support for digitalisation in various positions at well-known companies like Scout24, GlaxoSmithKline, Nordex and the Techniker health insurance scheme; he also worked as a self-employed consultant for ten years.


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