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Gesundheitswesen. 2009 Feb;71(2):94-101. doi: 10.1055/s-0028-1102939. Epub 2009 Jan 28.

[Statutory ambulatory medical care through the eyes of the health insurance beneficiaries--methods and results of the 2006 NASHIP Health Insurance Beneficiary survey: care utilisation, primary care, and emergency medical services].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Institut für Medizinische Biometrie der Universität Tübingen, Westbahnhofstrasse 55, Tübingen.



The aim of this study was to obtain valid information on the delivery of ambulatory medical care from the point of view of the health insurance beneficiaries. The National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (NASHIP) conducted in 2006 for the first time a nationally representative telephone survey. The survey set out to gather information on health care utilisation, patients' experiences and satisfaction with care delivery, and to provide an indication for the further development of the services offered.


Between 22 May and 8 June 2006, a random sample of 4 315 inhabitants from 18 to 79 years of age was interviewed using a computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI). The questionnaire included 51 questions relating to six topics, and consisted of a core set of questions and supplementary questions dealing with further details or special issues. One section of the 2006 survey focused on emergency medical services. In the analysis, samples were weighted to reflect the distribution of the population by age and sex.


82% of survey participants have visited a doctor's office in the last 12 months, and 93% indicated to have a regular general practitioner (GP) they consult for medical problems or health advice. Referring to all respondents, the mean number of consultations in a doctor's office was about 5 per year. Over 90% of respondents having a regular GP arrive at the office within 20 min, and for 61% home visits by their regular doctor are very important or important. 90% of respondents having seen the GP during the last 12 months assess the medical care received as very good or good. The places contacted when the regular office is closed are clearly varying by region and respondent's age. Whereas younger people primarily consult the hospital emergency department, the importance of the general practitioner in the case of an emergency increases with age. Overall, 29% preferentially turn to a hospital or hospital emergency department, another 25% to outpatient emergency medical services, and scarcely 16% to their regular GP. 61% of survey participants or their close relatives have already utilised emergency medical services (EMS). Regarding the last case of a medical emergency, in 3 out of 5 cases patients went themselves to the emergency service. A total of 74% of patients assess the care received by the emergency medical service as very good or good. Evaluations are less favourable in the event of prolonged waiting time for the emergency medical doctor at home or in the EMS office.


The NASHIP health insurance beneficiary survey reflects a broadening patient and service orientation and provides valid information on ambulatory medical care through the eyes of the insurance beneficiaries. The survey depicts high overall satisfaction with primary care, a high degree of trust in the doctor's medical competence, and easily accessible services. Patient evaluations of outpatient emergency medical care are mainly positive, but still show room for improvement.

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