Competent and comprehensible information is essential
Health information is effective. It helps healthy people stay healthy longer and patients cope better with their disease. In view of the rising numbers of major diseases worldwide, such as diabetes, allergies and lung diseases, both are a central challenge of our time. For Matthias Tschöp, CEO at Helmholtz Zentrum München, it is of paramount importance that the information flow towards society always remains connected to authentic and reliable scientific expertise.
The COVID-19 pandemic has proven more than ever the importance of clear and stringent criteria for health information: It must be up to date and accurate and people must be able to use it. For many patients, the overload of information is a challenge; it is difficult for them to filter which information is correct and which is relevant. Matthias Tschöp emphasizes the importance of excellent research for knowledge transfer: “The pandemic has shown that our findings are essential – for developing drugs and diagnostics as well as for informing the public. Without intensive basic biomedical research, we wouldn't be able to bring anything into application or to the people.”
People still place the most trust in their own doctors. However, there is often not enough time for intensive information and there is a lack of a common language – a challenge that is frequently mentioned in Germany. This makes opportunities to share experiences in self-help groups as well as verified and easy to understand information offered by independent portals all the more important. They can support people with diseases in making informed decisions about their therapy, or help prevent diseases at an early stage.
10 Years of Information Services at Helmholtz Zentrum München
Since the launch of the Lung Information Service in 2011, Helmholtz Zentrum München has continuously expanded its health information services to other topics and target groups. The Allergy Information Service followed, as did the knowledge transfer program “Fit in Gesundheitsfragen” for schools together with the German Cancer Research Center, and the national diabetes information portal “diabinfo” together with the German Center for Diabetes Research and the German Diabetes Center.
Every year, more than five million people use the services of Helmholtz Zentrum München on its various online portals. “In the coming years, we want to expand our offerings even more for younger people and for people with fewer prospects in education. This will help us contributing even more to strengthening health literacy as early and sustainably as possible,” says Ulrike Koller, Head of Information Services at Helmholtz Zentrum München. To this end, the Center is currently developing new strong partnerships at the federal, state and local levels.
The information services are supported by the German Federal Ministries of Research and Health, the German Federal Center for Health Education, the Helmholtz Association and the German Centers for Lung and Diabetes Research.
Recording of the Round Table (in German)*
・ Wolfgang H. Caselmann – Deputy Head of Department for Prevention and Health Protection at the Bavarian Ministry for Health and Care
・ Werner Seeger – Chairman of the Board of the German Center for Lung Research and Medical Director of the University Hospital Giessen and Marburg
・ Doris Schaeffer – Professor of Health Sciences and Health Literacy Research at the University of Bielefeld
・ Stephan Kruip – Chairman of the Mukoviszidose e.V. and member of the German Ethics Council
・ Ulrike Koller – Head of Information Services at Helmholtz Zentrum München
・ Matthias Tschöp – CEO of Helmholtz Zentrum München