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Med Klin (Munich). 2005 Nov 15;100(11):755-68.

[Quality of health care in Germany. A six-country comparison].

[Article in German]

Author information

  • Institut für Qualität und Wirtschaftlichkeit im Gesundheitswesen (IQWiG), Köln. annette.ress@iqwig.de

Abstract

Sicker adults in Germany suffer many of the same issues and concerns as do sicker adults in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the USA. However, quality of care in sicker adults in Germany stands out from the other countries in a few key areas: 1.

DISSATISFACTION WITH THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM:

Almost one in three sicker adults in Germany feels that their health care system should be completely rebuilt. This is comparable to the USA and Australia and higher than in New Zealand, Canada, and the UK. 2.

STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES IN COORDINATION OF CARE:

On the plus side, Germany is doing better than most countries to insure that needed information is available at the time of a patient''s scheduled appointment. Also, sicker adults in Germany are more likely than in other countries to have a long-term relationship with their primary care physician and receive less often conflicting informations. However, Germany stands out in the proportion of sicker adults who feel that their doctors have ordered a medical test that they thought was unnecessary because it had already been done. 3. COMPARATIVELY EASY ACCESS TO OUTPATIENT, SPECIALTY AND EMERGENCY CARE: Though substantial minorities of sicker adults in Germany struggle with access to care as compared to other countries, they find it easier to get after hours care and have the shortest waits to see a doctor, to see a specialist, to have nonemergency surgery, and to be seen in the emergency room. Along with the USA, German respondents are most satisfied with the amount of choice they have in a surgeon 4.

COMMUNICATION ABOUT RISKS DURING HOSPITALIZATIONS:

Hospitalized sicker adults in Germany are more likely than those in other countries to have the risks of their treatment explained to some extent prior to the procedure. However, German patients are less likely to have the risks of their treatment fully explained than those in other countries. German patients who were given new medications were more likely than patients in other countries to report that they did not have a clear understanding of the purpose of these medications. Further, German patients are more likely than those in other countries to report that their regular doctor rarely or never explains the possible side effects of their medications. 5.

FAILURES IN HOSPITAL DISCHARGE PLANNING:

Overall, hospitalized sicker adults in Germany face more failures in discharge management than in other countries. Of particular note is that Germany is less likely than all other countries to ensure that hospitalized patients have appointments for follow-up care upon discharge from hospital. 6. HOSPITAL-BASED INFECTIONS ARE RARE.: Hospitalized patients in Germany are less likely than in other surveyed countries to report that they developed an infection while in the hospital. 7.

LAB NOTIFICATION DELAYS ARE INFREQUENT:

Sicker adults in Germany are less likely than in other surveyed countries to report that they have experienced delays in being notified about abnormal lab test results. 8.

GERMAN DOCTORS ARE LESS LIKELY TO INFORM PATIENTS ABOUT AN ERROR:

When German patients experience medical and medication errors, they are less likely than are patients in other countries to be told by a doctor or other health care professional that an error had been made. 9.

BETTER QUALITY OF CARE IN CHRONICALLY ILL PATIENTS:

Generally , Germany is doing a better job than other countries at providing patients with chronic conditions some basic standards of preventive care. These patients are more likely to have a nurse in their doctor's office who is regularly involved in the management of their care. Patients from the old Bundeslaender seem to receive a better quality of diabetes care compared to those from the new Bundeslaender. 10. HAVING PRIVATE INSURANCE IS ASSOCIATED WITH INCREASED USE OF HEALTH CARE: German respondents who have private health insurance are more likely to see a specialist, to be hospitalized, and to have nonemergency surgery than those without private insurance. They are also more likely than those without such supplemental insurance to report that doctors ordered an unnecessarily duplicative test. Wait times are shorter for those with private insurance, both to see a specialist and for nonemergency surgery. There is no difference in the overall quality of care for chronic diseases between patients having private or statutory insurance. 11. GERMAN FEMALE RESPONDENTS REPORT MORE COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION FAILURES THAN DO MALES: German female patients are more likely than males to report failures by their doctors to communicate with them about treatment choices, the specific goals and treatment, symptoms to watch for and when to seek further care, and possible medication side effects. Women are also more likely to report coordination problems in unnecessarily duplicative tests or information not being available at the time of their appointment. Females are less likely than males to rate their overall care as excellent or very good.

PMID:
16328186
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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