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Doctors have to reckon with critical patients in their practices
In German practices, doctors have to reckon with more critical patients. Both the Internet and other media reports provide information about symptoms, diseases and treatment options. However, this often leads to patient uncertainty, Maren Puttfarcken, head of the Hamburg branch of the Techniker Krankenkasse (TK), told the news agency "dpa". The lines of the TK hotline ran hot after the breast cancer surgery of the American actress Angelina Jolie became known.
Critical patients often find information on the Internet
Before visiting a doctor, many patients first find out about their complaints and possible therapy methods on the Internet. This shows that the patients want to have a say in their treatment, Puttfarcken reported.
After it became known in May that the actress Angelina Jolie had her breast amputated and artificially rebuilt out of fear of hereditary breast cancer, this also unsettled many German women. The TK telephone hotline rang continuously. Overall, patients would become increasingly critical of doctors. "The topic of medicine and health is playing an increasingly important role in our society," said the expert. "We want the patients to become mature - but the doctor also has to play a role." The question of fees plays an important role, since device medicine has been paid better than discussions between doctor and patient. "But the pressure is increasing, the demands of the patients are increasing." It would be an advantage if the doctor and patient were given advice about a therapy. That would take time, "but it also minimizes treatment problems," said Puttfarcken. Doctors' bills will change from autumn 2013. Then doctors will also receive a fee from the health insurance company for talking to the patient.
Critical patients want to be involved in decision making
According to a study by the TK scientific institute on the doctor-patient relationship in 2010, two-thirds of the insured expect their doctor to involve them in the decision-making process. "Only six percent of those questioned said that the doctor should decide on his own." Puttfarcken pointed out, however, that the patients must have enough information to be able to participate in the decision-making process. "More and more information is coming onto the market that no one knows about. how resilient they are - many of them feel more confused than informed. " Internet research would often lead to patients going to the doctor with a wide variety of information. "This leads to great uncertainty."
The second opinion phone, for example, has shown that there is a huge interest in reliable information. Since the TK set up the hotline in 2011, around 5,000 calls a year have been received. Patients could get advice from a specialist, among other things, in the event of a serious illness or before an operation. A TC evaluation of the second opinion of specialists before spinal surgery showed that almost 80 percent of the 761 participants felt that no intervention was necessary.
Unnecessary operations and rip-off unsettling patients The media are reporting more and more about rip-offs with additional private medical services and unnecessary operations. No wonder that many patients are very skeptical about doctors.
Just last year, a study commissioned by the umbrella organization of statutory health insurance (GKV) showed that many operations are not carried out due to medical necessity, but rather for economic reasons. Accordingly, the number of treatments increased by 13 percent between 2006 and 2010. Only 40 percent of this can be attributed to the aging of the population. In particular, expensive orthopedic and cardiological interventions have increased, said the health insurance association. It is understandable that such reports lead to uncertainty among the patients. If in doubt, patients should seek a second opinion, advises the SHI. (ag)