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Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2015 Oct;43(5):415-23. doi: 10.1111/cdoe.12164. Epub 2015 Apr 21.

Informed consumer or unlucky visitor? A profile of German patients who received dental services abroad.

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Department of Health Care Management, Berlin University of Technology, Berlin, Germany.
Scientific Institute of Techniker Krankenkasse for Benefit and Efficiency in Health Care (WINEG), Hamburg, Germany.



A common characteristic of sending countries in cross-border dental care is that of high costs and/or high copayments for dental services. This study aims to provide an insight into the characteristics of German patients receiving planned and emergency (unplanned) dental care abroad and their satisfaction with received services.


The Europabefragung is a postal survey carried out by Techniker Krankenkasse for patients who are treated in EU/EEA countries. This study uses data from the Europabefragung 2012. The survey was sent to 45 189 individuals; descriptive statistics for the subset of respondents who received emergency (unplanned) or planned dental treatment are presented.


There were 18 339 responses to the questionnaire, out of which 17 543 were deemed valid; 1416 respondents had received emergency (unplanned) (78%) or planned (22%) dental care and were included in the analysis. There were clear differences between unplanned and planned treatments regarding country and type of treatment as well as satisfaction with different aspects of treatment and the need for follow-up care. Overall, satisfaction with treatment was high for both groups; individuals who had received planned treatment were more satisfied on all aspects of care and reported a need for follow-up care less frequently.


While German patients who received both emergency (unplanned) and planned services abroad are mostly satisfied with their experience, some concerns arise with regard to continuity of care. Types of information provided to patients seeking care abroad and dissemination modalities should be carefully planned.


dental insurance; dental services research; health services research; public health; public health policy

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