Fraunhofer Strategic Research Field

Digital Healthcare

More than half of all Fraunhofer Institutes are involved in the four major areas of health research – drugs, diagnostics, devices and data, or 4D for short. Many innovations emerge at the interface between clinical practice, natural science, computer science and engineering. With its emphasis on interdisciplinary research, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft offers the perfect environment for cooperating on health research and developing new applied solutions for current and future markets.

Digital diagnostics and prevention is one of our key areas of research. By connecting and processing health data, we can improve diagnostic methods and develop tailored therapies. Artificial intelligence (AI) enables us to compare disease progression in large numbers of patients and make recommendations on the most promising personalized therapies. For example, it provides highly accurate methods for the localization, marking, three-dimensional modeling and analysis of tumors. Additionally, AI may soon enable us to rapidly search medical publications and databases to determine the efficacy of therapies for specific groups of patients and provide treating physicians with access to the selected documents.

Against the backdrop of an aging population, cost pressures and shortages of skilled healthcare professionals, our research also focuses on automating healthcare provision in order to maintain quality of care, free up more space for human interaction, and take the pressure off staff.


Web special

Health Research in 4D

Drugs, diagnostics, devices and data are the four major areas of medical science.


Fraunhofer Lighthouse project

MED²ICIN – Digital patient model as a basis for personalised and cost-optimised treatment.


Fraunhofer Cluster of Excellence Immune-Mediated Diseases

Early diagnosis and individualized treatment of immune diseases.

Impact Goal

Affordable healthcare

The results of Fraunhofer research help keep people healthy and make healthcare affordable across all areas of medical, environmental and nutritional research. Smart assistance systems boost the effectiveness of preventive healthcare, diagnostic medicine, treatment and care. Other key factors in public health include nutrition, food technology and effective environmental protection, all of which feature prominently in Fraunhofer research.

Germany fosters a broad and diverse array of medical technology research with a clear emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration. Examples include testing new drugs in clinical trials, searching for specific biomarkers, developing prostheses that provide sensory feedback and developing concepts for secure data management. Health and care is one of the key areas of innovation within the German federal government’s High-Tech Strategy. The idea is to use cutting-edge technologies to develop effective methods and products to improve diagnostics, preventive care, treatment, patient care and rehabilitation.

Most institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are involved in healthcare research. Improving medical capabilities and optimizing processes are key priorities, but so too is the goal of making healthcare affordable for everyone.

The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is superbly placed to tackle this complex task thanks to its interdisciplinary networks and its ability to pool the required expertise. Overcoming this challenge leads to new technological developments in healthcare research.

Digitalized value chain

Digital transformation affects almost every area of our lives and opens up new opportunities for our society and economy. The impact of new developments and solutions extends far beyond individual applications and provides a stimulus to entire sectors of industry. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft drives forward targeted aspects of digital transformation in order to accelerate and enhance digital value creation across all areas.

Digital transformation poses both major challenges and tremendous opportunities. Entirely new value chains are emerging on the back of increasing connectivity and automation, the pooling of data from diverse sources and the creation of digital interfaces to customers. Digitalization is radically changing our economy by transforming the nature of production, retail, services, logistics and transport. For many years, Fraunhofer has been one of the key drivers behind connected manufacturing and digital innovation in Germany. Its contributions help companies harness the full potential of digitalization.

Fraunhofer researchers tackle key aspects of IT security, data sovereignty, Industrial Data Space, artificial intelligence, next-generation computing and IT infrastructures. Their expertise plays a key role in driving digital transformation and boosting the competitiveness of German and European companies. All in all, our research and development work helps our economy and society to meet the challenges of digitalization and harness the opportunities that digital transformation offers.