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Palliative care in Germany in regional comparison

From a scientific perspective, the structure of palliative care in Germany offers some interesting aspects, which will be highlighted in this blog post.

5. September 2023

Palliative care in Germany in regional comparison

Prof. Dr. Andreas Schmid

The search for the best possible care as a driver

At Oberender AG, we deal with how supply can be organized optimally on a daily basis. In concrete terms for a specific hospital or a specific region, conceptually in the development of new forms of care (IGZ / PORT) or also scientifically, as recently with the focus on palliative care in Germany in a regional comparison.

As a member of the scientific advisory board in the pallCompare project, which was funded by the Innovation Fund, I have been able to learn a lot about palliative care in Germany over the past two years.

Palliative care in Germany

From a scientific point of view, the structure of palliative care in Germany offers some interesting aspects. Thus, it is extremely heterogeneous and has developed very differently in the individual CT regions. In addition to inpatient services, there is now a colorful bouquet of outpatient forms of care: be it “general outpatient palliative care”, “specialized outpatient palliative care” or “specially qualified and coordinated palliative medical care” – to name just a few.

Each form is billed and remunerated differently, different professions with different qualifications are involved. The uptake of services is also extremely heterogeneous from region to region.

The project pallCompare

But how can palliative care in Germany now be further improved? Which models have proven themselves and lead to particularly good results? In what direction would regulation need to evolve?

Due to the lack of transparent data, these questions are difficult to answer. The pallCompare project pursues the goal of creating “for the first time a longitudinal, cross-sectoral and regionally differentiated survey of palliative care in Germany”.

Service utilization, quality of care, and costs of care will be recorded longitudinally over six years “to build an empirical foundation for the further development of palliative care.” (pallCompare 2023).

Theory and practice hand in hand in palliative care

With my background as a health economist dealing with health care structures and reimbursement instruments, I was familiar with the basic problem, but had little prior exposure to palliative care.

Several intensive workshops, organized by the team led by PD Dr. Antje Freytag from the Institute of General Medicine at Jena University Hospital, were therefore extremely enriching. It became apparent how important it is to combine deep expertise on developments and structures in the regions with medical and health economic analyses.

A regional comparison of palliative care

A result of the project work has now been published in the Federal Health Gazette in August 2023. The publication is entirely devoted to regional comparisons and prepares important data for the discussion on the further development of palliative care.

As a co-author, I was able to contribute to the paper entitled “Outcome quality and costs of general and specialized palliative care in Germany in regional comparison: a GKV routine data study” and contribute my thoughts and impulses.

I am very much looking forward to further work on the project.

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Prof. Dr. Andreas Schmid

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