On Monday, November 6, 2017 a panel event will be held at the Konsul-Hackfeld-Haus in Bremen to discuss the findings of an empirical research project on the economisation of medical decisions relating to hospital patients. Professor Heinz Rothgang and Dr. Joachim Larisch, SOCIUM, are joint scientific directors and organisers of the event.
Are patients and their welfare really the focus of interest when they are admitted to hospital, treated and discharged? Can the observable steady rise in cases and the growing complexity of diseases exclusively be attributed to medical needs? Does the orientation of hospitals meet the health needs of the population? Or are these developments an expression of an "economisation" process, which increasingly commingles medical indications with economic interests? Do the financing concepts of the health system have an impact on the substance, character and quality of medicine and hospital treatment?
Economist Professor Heinz Naegler (Berlin School of Economics and Law), and physician and sociologist Professor Karl-Heinz Wehkamp (SOCIUM, University of Bremen), interviewed hospital doctors and managers throughout Germany on whether medical decisions are influenced by interests other than patients', and if so, why.
Their findings testify to the dilemmas confronting hospital managers and doctors when compelled to generate profits in order to secure the economic livelihood of their hospitals. If the welfare of the patients were consistently taken into account as a criterion for patient-related and business decisions, then fewer patients would be admitted for treatment, and treatment processes would be carried out with more diligence and restraint and less forcefulness. As a workplace, hospitals would be more attractive and conducive to better health, and the shortage of skilled workers would be less severe - providing, of course, that enough skilled workers are available and hospitals are under less pressure to generate profits in order to be sustainable.
The findings will be discussed by a panel of experts including Professor Eva Quante-Brandt, Senator for Health in Bremen, Dr. Heidrun Gitter, President of the Bremen Medical Chamber, Jürgen Scholz, Chairman of the Bremen Hospital Association and Dr. Jürgen Malzahn, Director of Inpatient Care, Federal Association of the AOK Health Fund. Hedwig François-Kettner, Chair of the German Coalition for Patient Safety (Aktionsbündnis Patientensicherheit) and former Director of Care Management at the Charité Clinical Centre in Berlin, will speak on the issue from the point of view of patient safety.
The results of the study will be available in book form (Naegler H., Wehkamp K.-H.: Medizin im Krankenhaus zwischen Patientenwohl und Ökonomisierung, Medizinisch Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft, Berlin, 12/2017) as well as in the journals "Deutsches Ärzteblatt" and "Monitor Versorgungsforschung" (all in German). A team from NDR Television will be recording the event and producing a comprehensive documentary on the subject.
Prof. Dr. Heinz Rothgang
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Phone: +49 421 218-58557
StB Dr. Joachim Larisch