AOK: Clear treatment differences in clinics

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Hospital Report 2011

Hospital Report 2011: Great differences in treatment quality at Germany's clinics

The AOK scientific institute (WIdO) has published the Hospital Report 2011, which shows that there are considerable quality differences between the various German clinics. In many hospitals, the risk of complications after surgery is significantly increased - even with routine medical interventions.

Complications also occur during routine interventions In the 2011 Hospital Report, WIdO comes to the conclusion that in every tenth clinic there are 80 percent more complications when using an artificial hip joint than statistically expected, explained the managing director of the institute, Jürgen Klauber, when the report was presented. For the current report, the experts at WIdO examined, among other things, how often complications from routine interventions (e.g. insertion of a hip joint) occur in the various clinics. The top ten percent of the clinics fell below the statistically expected complication cases by 44 percent as part of the WIdO's investigation, according to the managing director of the institute. The comparison between the complications that occurred after a routine intervention in the different hospitals within a year showed that numerous operations had to be performed a second time due to unexpected problems.

Many hip operations had to be repeated
As part of the 2011 Hospital Report, WIdO, for example, examined the complications after the insertion of an artificial hip joint (due to joint wear) between 2006 and 2008 in more detail. With the result that in every second clinic more than four percent of hip operations had to be repeated within a year. The 25 percent of clinics with the most complications even had to start a new operation in more than 5.9 percent of the cases. When considering all other medical complications such as fractures, thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, complications after surgery occurred in more than 12 percent of the hospitals in half of the hospitals, explained Jürgen Klauber with reference to the hospital report. In order to avoid distortions caused by the individual complication risks of the patients, the different distribution of older people and people with previous illnesses was taken into account when preparing the report by the WIdO.

Patients should inform themselves about the clinic quality In view of the widely varying quality of treatment in the different clinics, Jürgen Klauber explained: "The differences can have various causes", for example, the processes in hospitals are professionalized to different degrees. It is therefore all the more important for patients to have reliable information about the quality of the respective hospital. "Patients who are planning a hospital stay need not only information about the service of a house, but above all reliable information about the quality of the treatment," emphasized Jürgen Klauber. The managing director of the institute also referred to the evaluation portal for hospitals on the Internet, which provides patients with reliable information on the quality of the clinic in the area of ​​hip and knee surgery and in operations due to a broken femoral neck. To the regret of the expert, despite years of quality measurements in Germany, there is so far no official list that is visible to everyone and that shows which clinics are good in which areas. For this reason, the expert advises that your doctor should help you find a good clinic. In addition, he believes that health insurance companies should be given more options to conclude special contracts with hospitals so that insured persons can increasingly head to good clinics.

Relationship between quality and competition The annual hospital report published by Max Geraedts from the University of Witten-Herdecke and Jürgen Wasem from the University of Duisburg-Essen together with the AOK Scientific Institute (WIdO) primarily assesses the quality of German clinics. The 2011 Hospital Report deals extensively with the relationship between quality and competition, the status of inpatient quality assurance in Germany, the importance of quality as a market factor for hospitals and the use of quality information by patients when selecting a clinic. The report also tries to present concepts with which the quality can be improved either in the existing collective contract system or through the individual contract options of the health insurance companies. (fp)

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