News Item, , Gütersloh: Doctors judge the healthcare system more optimistically than patients

Bertelsmann Stiftung: Compensation should be based on objective criteria

Physicians rate the German healthcare system far more positively than do patients, particularly in terms of quality of care, scope of services, and costs. In a recent survey carried out by the Bertelsmann Stiftung, 64 percent of doctors polled indicated that the quality of medical treatment needed no further improvement; only 48 percent of the general public felt the same way. Sixty-eight percent of doctors are satisfied with the quality of hospital buildings and equipment, but only 53 percent of patients agree. Fifty-two percent of doctors and 65 percent of the overall German population believe that there is a difference in quality between individual physicians.

Doctors likewise rate the scope of services of medical care more positively. Only 30 percent of doctors surveyed saw a need for more modern medical treatments and services, while the figure for the general public was significantly higher at 54 percent. Charges for healthcare are also perceived differently: only about 45 percent of doctors agree that health insurance premiums and co-payments are too high in Germany, while around 70 percent of the public feel this is true. Nevertheless, doctors and patients are largely in agreement that not everyone has the same access to good medical care (70 and 77 percent, respectively). “The Bertelsmann Stiftung believes that a reorganization of the healthcare sector must increase transparency about the quality of services, not only for healthcare health plan members, but also for doctors and other care providers who often are not at all aware of the quality of their performance. The demands made by the service providers involved in the doctors’ strike must also include the objective of making sure the healthcare sector remains viable,” says Bertelsmann Stiftung project manager Jan Böcken. “If the public perceives different shortcomings than do service providers, it then becomes important to measure quality as objectively as possible and to base compensation on this measurement to some degree. Only then will the public understand why compensation should be increased, as our surveys have shown in the past.” With its European Practice Assessment (EPA) program, the Bertelsmann Stiftung has provided a rigorous, metrics-based tool for anonymous self-evaluation of medical practices in order to ensure targeted quality management. In addition, it is in the process of developing an independent portal through which people can learn about hospitals’ offerings and quality of services. The Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Healthcare Monitor surveys a representative sample of 1,500 members of the public twice a year and 500 medical practitioners once a year about current topics of interest in German healthcare. The results presented here are based on surveys taken in November and December 2005.
Contact: Jan Böcken, Tel.: +49 52 41 / 81-81 462 You will find further information in the sidebar at the right.