There may be exceptions. However, most patients who have to go to the hospital for a procedure or operation would prefer to come home quickly and sleep in their own bed. It is precisely this offer – i.e. more outpatient treatment – that the University of Mainz wants to significantly expand in the next few years.
It’s not just about fulfilling patients’ often-heard wishes to sleep at home, but also about providing certain healthcare services as efficiently and economically as possible, says Norbert Pfeiffer, the medical director of the hospital, which consists of around 60 clinics, institutes and departments Establishment of supramaximal care, which was openly admitted in a press conference on Monday.
The “outpatientization project” that has just begun on the hospital grounds on Langenbeckstrasse is intended to enable the clinic to permanently cope with the already foreseeable increase in patients, both in outpatient and inpatient admissions. The reasons for the expected increase are, on the one hand, the aging baby boomer generation, but also the hospital reform announced by politicians, which is still in progress. According to Pfeiffer, both make it necessary to precisely analyze the work processes in the only university medical center in Rhineland-Palatinate in order to adapt to the changing situation in good time.
New strategy for the new year
The clinic, which has a good 8,700 employees and around 3,500 medical students are trained, has recently made double-digit million deficits several times in a row and correspondingly made negative headlines. Nevertheless, the CEO, who is leaving office at the turn of the year, considers the time to be ideal to push ahead with a fundamental restructuring. The new strategy probably means greater changes for everyone involved than the introduction of the per-case flat-rate system. This fits with the construction master plan that the state has already launched, which envisages investments amounting to more than 2.2 billion euros by 2038 on the extensive area of the former municipal hospital.
The heart of the whole thing will be a modern central building that has yet to be built, in which several emergency rooms, operating rooms and intensive care units will be accommodated. But before the architects can get to work, according to Pfeiffer, experts should first check the entire operational processes again next year. Among other things, it then needs to be clarified what needs to remain inpatient and what can just as easily be done on an outpatient basis; and what the rooms belonging to the respective concept should ideally look like.
Many changes in prospect: An ambulance from the German Red Cross (DRK) on the way to the outpatient clinic at the Mainz University Hospital. : Image: Maximilian von Lachner
In the case of outpatient treatment – for example in the eye clinic, cardiology, urology or gynecology – the patient usually walks to the operating chair or the operating table on his own, says Pfeiffer. For him, it is important, for example, to have a parking space near the entrance, a reception, lockers and changing rooms as well as lounge areas for friends or relatives.