How to Find the Right Hospital in Germany When You Get Sick?

How to Find the Right Hospital in Germany When You Get Sick?

This article will help you find the answer to the question, How to Find the Right Hospital in Germany when you get sick? The German government aims to simplify the process of finding a suitable hospital with the new nationwide Clinic Atlas, which has just gone online. This hospital directory, managed by the Federal Ministry of Health, ranks and compares hospitals across the country. It evaluates factors such as the hospitals’ experience with specific surgeries and the number of patients per nurse. This tool promises to be very useful for patients.

However, not everyone is in favor of this directory. Critics argue that classifying hospitals similarly to hotels, with star ratings, will lead to a preference for larger hospitals. The opposition party CDU contends that the directory adds unnecessary bureaucracy for hospitals.

Launch and Features of the Federal Hospital Atlas

The Federal Hospital Atlas, or Bundes-Klinik-Atlas, was launched online for German residents last Friday. This new portal allows patients to easily access information about the strengths and weaknesses of hospitals in Germany.

“With the Federal Hospital Atlas, we are offering patients a clear guide through the hospital jungle in Germany,” said German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach at the launch in Berlin. “With just a few clicks, they can compare hospitals and find the best hospital in their area for the treatment they need.”

The portal provides information on approximately 1,700 clinics in Germany. However, not all data is available immediately; the atlas will be gradually updated over the coming months.

Legal and Structural Basis

The legal foundation for the atlas is the Hospital Transparency Act, passed by Germany’s parliament in March. The atlas is part of Lauterbach’s broader hospital system reform, which aims to increase specialization among hospitals.

Information Provided by the Atlas

Patients can use the atlas to find out which hospitals offer specific procedures, the frequency of these procedures, and the number of nursing staff available. It also shows which clinics have certifications indicating their level of specialization in certain treatments.

In a few weeks, complication rates for selected surgeries will be published, providing data on what goes wrong and how often. This information is already being collected but has not been published until now.

Patient Advocacy and Concerns

Patient advocates have cautiously welcomed the new service. However, they warn that clinics might prioritize “younger, promising patients” to maintain a good track record, potentially discriminating against the older people, chronically ill, and those in need of care.

“The result would be discrimination against the older people, the chronically ill, and those in need of care,” warned Eugen Brysch of the German Foundation for Patient Protection (Die Deutsche Stiftung Patientenschutz).

The German Social Association (Der Sozialverband Deutschland) also welcomed the atlas but noted that its real value for patients remains to be seen.

Comparison with Existing Portals

Hospital quality comparison portals already exist on the internet, often provided by health insurance companies. According to Lauterbach, the new federal atlas differentiates itself through its easy comprehensibility and extensive data.

The system is designed for easy understanding, ensuring that all users, regardless of their background, can navigate it effectively.

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