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Health care: Insured people see deficiencies in the system

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Health care: Insured people see deficiencies in the system

Monday, December 4, 2023, 3:45 p.m

Survey: Most people are satisfied with medical care. But a not insignificant part experiences deficits (December 4th, 2023)

Munich, December 4, 2023. There is a mixed picture when it comes to satisfaction with health care in Germany. Most people give a positive testimony. 77 percent rated their last experience with a doctor’s office as positive. But: One in four (24%) does not see emergency care in their own region as completely secure. 35 percent of people who have ever been in need of care or have cared for someone were not satisfied with the experiences they had with outpatient or inpatient care facilities. And 28 percent of parents with children 12 and younger had difficulty finding a pediatrician’s office. These are the central results of a representative study carried out by the market research institute YouGov on behalf of the SBK Siemens company health insurance company among 2,022 participants aged 18 and over.

According to the SBK survey, satisfaction also varies when it comes to access to medical care: 80 percent of insured people can visit a family doctor or general practitioner within a reasonable distance of their place of residence. However, 30 percent did not receive a specialist appointment in a reasonable time despite an urgent need. 37 percent of people with experience of outpatient or inpatient care were unable to find a place in a nursing home or a nursing service quickly enough in a care situation.

Lack of information exchange: 26 percent report duplicate examinations
Reliable digital data exchange between service providers can prevent expensive multiple examinations for the insured community. But the networking does not seem to work satisfactorily everywhere: 26 percent of all respondents stated that the same examinations were carried out at short intervals because results such as blood counts or X-rays were not passed on from one practice to another. Those who have had an operation or a hospital stay in the last three years are more likely to be aware of the problem (32%). Of those in need of care, 54 percent even have experience with double examinations within a short period of time. Networking in the healthcare system is essential in order to use the system’s scarce resources in the interests of patients.

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The healthcare system must become more sustainable in order to maintain good care
Health care is in a tense situation, as the results of this survey also show,” emphasizes Gertrud Demmler. “In the foreseeable future, the overload is likely to increase given demographic change. This means that doctor’s appointments, care facilities and time for patients in the hospital are becoming more scarce. This is not just bad news for patients. The people who care for them, such as doctors and nursing staff, are also under increasing pressure. We now need far-reaching reforms that will relieve the overall burden on health care resources. And the most important of those resources are the people who work in the system.”

Using resources for the benefit of people: Suggestions for a more sustainable healthcare system
The SBK makes suggestions on how the healthcare system can use its increasingly scarce resources more sustainably. Two points are central here: On the one hand, the healthcare system is currently geared towards quantity and not quality. This means that money, specialists and materials flow primarily into complex therapies and offers that require a lot of resources. This mechanism does not create any incentives to act sustainably. This quantity-based distribution mechanism should be further developed into a quality-based one. Therapies that, from the patient’s perspective, have a high, long-term benefit should particularly benefit. The prerequisite for this is to measure the quality of treatments based on the experiences of the insured and to make the results available transparently. In this way we can achieve a new quality orientation that promotes more effective therapies. We also save valuable resources and relieve the burden on medical staff.

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“How patients perceive the quality of their healthcare – that is a key question in our view. Do patients find help appropriately quickly in an emergency? Do you feel well taken care of? In order to recognize where good care is being provided and where we need to take countermeasures, the experiences of the insured are essential. That’s why we collect them regularly and bring them into the debate about necessary health care reforms,” says Dr. Gertrud Demmler, board member of the SBK.

The second central pillar of a sustainable transformation is a healthcare system that is more focused on prevention. Today, care is almost exclusively about treating illnesses. However, preventing as many of these diseases as possible is the more sustainable way. It reduces suffering and conserves healthcare resources.

You can read a more detailed description of the SBK’s proposals for a more sustainable healthcare system here.

About the survey:
What experiences do the insured have in health care? This question is the focus of the survey. It was carried out on behalf of the SBK Siemens company health insurance company by the market research institute YouGov as part of an online survey between July 19th and 21st, 2023 among 2,022 respondents. The results were weighted and are representative of the population aged 18 and over in Germany.

Infographic: Most people are satisfied with the care – but some experience deficits

Infographic: Emergency care, appointment scheduling, information exchange: Insured people see deficiencies

The SBK Siemens company health insurance company is the largest company health insurance company in Germany and is one of the 20 largest statutory health insurance companies. As an open, nationwide health insurance company, it insures more than a million people and looks after over 100,000 corporate customers in Germany – with more than 1,800 employees in 86 branches.

For over 100 years, SBK has been personally and committedly committed to the interests of the insured. It positions itself as a pioneer for real quality competition in statutory health insurance. From the SBK’s point of view, the prerequisite for this is more transparency for the insured – about relevant financial figures, but also about the willingness to perform, advice and service quality of health insurance companies. In the interests of the customer, SBK also combines the best of the personal and digital worlds and actively promotes digitalization in the healthcare system.

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