Cooperation with University Witten/Herdecke

Cooperation with University Witten/Herdecke

The first somewhat larger step has been taken. I look forward to working with the University of Witten/Herdecke (UW/H). I thank the vice president of the UW/H Prof. Dr. med. vet. Jan P. Ehlers for making this possible. Jan, this will be exciting. 🙂
Since this is a cooperation between students, doctors and other interested parties, hierarchies should not play a role. I will thus be on familiar terms with the reader.

Goals of the cooperation

What do we do? It’s really quite simple. Jan Ehlers and I want to do something for doctors and for the generations of future doctors. We want to make the medical profession more fun again. Jan Ehlers says about the university: „It can´t be that the fun of studying is taken away from you on your very first day at university.“
There are more ways to achieve this goal as never before. All it takes is a motivated circle of people who want to drive improvements forward. Medical students still have their whole professional life ahead of them. They are motivated, smart and still full of energy to work on the foundations of a dysfunctional health system so that they and their patients will be as well off as possible later on. It is here that we come to an element that unites us doctors almost without restriction, at least before entering a workplace dominated by competition and other distractions from the core duties. We do not primarily want to make money but to help people! Because of this basic attitude we should not leave the further development of our profession to lawyers or business people alone. Rather, we should strongly influence the medical profession with our, in most cases, somewhat more humane view! Before you switch off now, because it becomes too idealistic for you, let’s get down to business.


The methods for really putting ideas into practice have changed, I would say improved, a lot over the last ten years. There are start-ups today which don’t hesitate to start implementing ideas immediately. Then, they see what works and what doesn’t. They simply further develop the concept which works until it is perfect. That which will not work, i.e. was a failure, will be abandoned. Making mistakes must therefore be allowed. Unfortunately, in professional life, this approach might result in a loss of face and subsequent shame, and particular in medicine everyone is afraid of making mistakes. Numerous bestselling authors such as Eric Ries (The Lean Startup), who is actually a programmer, tell us about companies that have had great success with this startup-system. Can this be implemented in medicine?

Our team thus aspires to do exactly that: Trial-and error until a concept evolves which is worth developing until it is (almost) perfect.

How we will start is not yet clear, however. It might be the digitalization in the health care system or, perhaps, dealing with “new work” or the establishment of “petrol forms of organization” in the medical practice. First of all, we have to assess the projects we are already working on, because there is a lot of know-how at UW/H already. To develop things together is much more interesting, although not necessarily easier, but in the end definitely better.
Jan Ehlers and I don’t have any fixed guidelines for our small think-(and do)-tank yet. With a closed circle of students from UW/H we want to develop a concept which helps students and doctors equally. By doing so, we want to look beyond the boundaries of our subject and make the medical profession more desirable again. We will look for everything which is helpful and puts the human being in the center of attention. The doctors should know that there is someone who cares.

The following questions will be answered in the next weeks:

1. How and through what channels do we communicate between each other?
2. What will be the name of that circle?
3. How does communication with the outside world take place?
4. Should we have a code of conduct so that participants of the group know what they are getting involved in?
5. What will be the first topics?
6. What will we try first?
7. What (digital) tools will we use to develop our ideas?

My contribution to the cooperation with University Witten/Herdecke will mainly consist of organizing, collecting results and keeping the overview. I know the medical profession in its traditional form well and also what’s important in the traditional healthcare system. I know the weak points which need to be targeted and what aspects already work well. If there is a hitch in the text sometimes, I an sorry. I am a craftsman 😉

Network, Plastic Surgery, University Witten/Herdecke

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