Ansgar Jonietz
2016, Germany
This physician founded the online service washabich.de to translate the technical jargon of medical findings in a manner understandable for laymen– free of charge

"As a medical student, I have been asked time and again by family members and acquaintances to explain a finding," the 31 year-old Ansgar Jonietz explains. To help people who do not know a doctor, along with two fellow students, in 2011 he developed the idea for ​​a translation service for medical findings. Now, his team consists of a total of 1,300 medical students and doctors. They are volunteers and to date have translated approximately 26,000 medical findings into a language that can be easily understood by patients. "However, we receive more requests than we can handle and thus have had to set up a waiting list," says Jonietz.

The money required to operate the platform comes in part from donations. "Every third person who has had his findings translated by us has donated something afterwards." However, most of the money comes from projects with partners from the healthcare sector. In a pilot project with the Paracelsus Clinics in Bad Ems (Germany), for example, patients discharged from hospital receive, in addition to the discharge report, a patient letter in easy to understand language. Thus, treatment adherence is encouraged. Jonietz´s team also trains medical doctors in communication through a training platform that is understandable for laymen. This course concept is now being offered as an optional subject by universities. "We plan to improve doctor-patient communications this way - so that our translation service someday becomes superfluous."

Text in German from its original source: MIT Technology Review German edition