Health Literacy 

Systems Medicine and Health Literacy (SysKomp)

Duration: 08/2014-07/2017

Project Board

Prof. Dr. med. Christiane Woopen
Coordinator: Dipl. Ges.-Ök. Pauline Mantell

Project Team

Prof. Dr. iur. Christian Katzenmeier
Prof. Dr. med. Stephanie Stock
Prof. Dr. med. Stephan Ruhrmann (Früherkennungs- und Therapiezentrum für psychische Krisen (FETZ), Uniklinik Köln)

Project Partners

Prof. Dr. Andrea Pfennig (DD Früh dran! Präventionsambulanz für psychische Störungen - Früherkennungszentrum, Universitätsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus an der Technischen Universität Dresden, Klinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie)/ Prof. Dr. Nikolaos Koutsouleris (PRONIA-Früherkennung, Klinikum der Universität München, Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie)


Systems medicine draws on an interdisciplinary approach to connect a large amount and variety of biological, neuropsychological, clinical and socio- demographic data in order to study the human body as an integrated whole. On this basis, systems medicine aims to advance our understanding as well as the detection, prevention and treatment of diseases.

The success or failure of systems medicine depends on the individual competences to use it. Patients and persons at risk need to know how to take advantage of the new opportunities. This requires sufficient health literacy. Health literacy describes the ability to access health relevant information, to understand and appraise it, as well as the ability to implement this knowledge into health-promoting behaviour.

Project Objectives

SysKomp is a collaborative project of ethics, law, health system research, and psychiatry. SysKomp analyses the ethical, legal, and regulatory framework of systems medicine regarding the implementation as well as the impact on the individual. The health literacy of people with mental disorders and their attitudes towards systems medicine diagnostics will be surveyed.  About 500 people between 15 and 40 years in early stages of mental disorders shall be involved in the survey. Taking into account further theoretical and normative reflection, the concept of health literacy will be specified. Furthermore, SysKomp surveys the acceptance of the implementation of systems medicine consulting different stakeholders using Delphi technique and focus groups. On this basis, recommendations to promote health literacy especially in people with mental health problems will be developed. Furthermore policy recommendations to implement systems medicine will be generated.


Dipl. Ges.-Ök. Pauline Mantell

ceres – Cologne Center for Ethics, Rights, Economics, and Social Sciences of Health
Universitätsstr. 91
D-50923 Köln

+49 (0)221 470-89107