Health: Start of a new quality atlas for hospitals

Health: Start of a new quality atlas for hospitals

Which hospital is the best for a particular operation – and is it worth driving a little further for it? A federal portal for this purpose is now online.

In the future, a government comparison portal will also provide information about the services and treatment quality of hospitals in Germany. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) is presenting a new “Federal Hospital Atlas” today.

Patients should find understandable information about hospitals in their area there. Data on case numbers should be available for 1,700 locations nationwide, i.e. on treatment experience, specialists and nurses as well as complication rates for selected procedures.

Criticism from the hospital society and patient advocates

The German Hospital Association (DKG) criticizes the portal as misleading and unnecessary. “There is no area in the healthcare system that is as transparent in terms of quality as hospitals,” said DKG boss Gerald Gaß to the editorial network Germany (RND). Information about staff, case numbers, quality data and complication rates has been prepared in the online German Hospital Directory for over two decades. The new atlas does not bring any new insights, but causes more effort and bureaucracy for hospitals.

The German Foundation for Patient Protection explained that people certainly wanted to know about the range of services and the quality. “But the clinic atlas is missing crucial information,” said board member Eugen Brysch to the German Press Agency. “The quality of patient management in the clinic is not recorded.” There is still a lack of binding guidelines and assessment factors that take the work on and with patients into account.

Brysch also pointed out that older people receive inpatient care much more often and that elderly patients with multiple illnesses need more time for successful therapy. “The complication rate in this patient group is always higher than average.”

Lauterbach wants more transparency

The clinical atlas is intended to complement a major reform with fundamental changes in financing and uniform quality standards that the cabinet has initiated. Clinics must report additional data for the transparency directory, as required by a law passed for this purpose. The hospital industry recently developed its own online overview. More search functions are now possible on the “German Hospital Directory”, which has existed since 2002.

Lauterbach had emphasized several times that he believes more transparency is urgently needed. Around a third of cancer patients are not treated where optimal results would be expected. The new atlas should also enable targeted comparisons between offers in a region, as the ministry said. This is intended to help patients and their doctors when deciding on a clinic. The data is processed by the Institute for Quality and Transparency in Healthcare. It is located at the Joint Federal Committee of Doctors, Clinics and Health Insurance Companies.

Source: Stern

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