|Implemented in this survey?|
German health care is known for its rather strict and historically evolved separation between the various sectors. A new cross sectoral quality assurance QA)system aims to overcome this fragmentation. After a European wide tender, the Joint Federal Committee commissioned the AQUA-Institute with implementing a new QA system. From 2010, AQUA will also take over the task of external QA in the hospital sector, which so far was the responsibility of the Federal Office for Quality Assurance BQS).
Since July 2008, measures passed by the Federal Joint Committee (FJC) with regard to quality assurance should in principle be cross sectoral. Previously, explicit external quality assurance was confined to the inpatient sector.
The German healthcare system is characterized by a rather strict and historically evolved separation between the various sectors. Implementing a cross sectoral quality assurance system is one instrument to overcome this separation. In order to put cross sectoral quality assurance into practice the FJC has issued a Europe wide tender in order to commission an independent institution with cross sectoral quality assurance. In February 2009, against many expectations, the FJC decided to commission the AQUA-Institute (www.aqua-institut.de/) with the implementation of the new cross sectoral quality assurance system. Furthermore, from 2010 the AQUA Institute will also take over the task of external quality assurance in the hospital sector, which so far was the responsibility of the BQS-Federal Office for Quality Assurance (Diel & Klakow-Franck 2009).
1. Improve cross sectoral quality assurance
2. improve quality of health care in general
Joint self government, Providers in health care (in particular hospitals and ambulatory physicians), Federal Office for Quality Assurance (formerly responsible for QA)
|Medienpräsenz||sehr gering||sehr hoch|
QA is a widely used concept in international health care and therefore the degree of innovation can be characterised as rather traditional. However, the choice for AQUA turned out to be highly controversial, the choice for the system per se was not controversial.
In 2007, Germany's 'Grand Coalition' between the Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Social Democrats (SPD), adopted a reform ("Act to Strengthen Competition in Statutory Health Insurance" - GKV-WSG) to strengthen competition in the statutory health insurance system. The core elements of the reform include:
The GKV-WSG also dictated the introduction of an independent institution for cross sectoral quality assurance. This institution would become responsible for:
It is important to bear in mind that at this point, it is unclear what the new coalition of Christian Democrats (CDU) and liberals (FDP), which came into power on 28 Ocober 2009, will alter or leave intact in their new plans for the german health care system.
Introduced as part of the GKV-WSG reform drafted by the then governing Grand Coalition
Coalition paper of the grand coalition - Koalitionsvertrag zwischen CDU, CSU and SPD: Gemeinsam für Deutschland. Mit Mut und Menschlichkeit, 11 November 2005
|Implemented in this survey?|
External quality assurance (in contrast to internal quality assurance of single hospitals) has been made obligatory in the 1990s. Since 2001, the Federal Office for Quality Assurance has implemented and managed this system. It involves the documentation of quality indicators. These indicators are gathered by the individual hospitals and then handed over to one of the sixteen state offices for quality assurance (one for each of the sixteen federal states). The state offices then pass the data on to the Federal Office for Quality Assurance (c.f. HPM report "External quality assurance for hospitals", December 2004). This old system was restricted to the inpatient sector only. The new approach will have to trace the way of the patient through the different sectors of health care (e.g. ambulatory, inpatient and rehabilitation).
The AQUA-Institute has to develop a method paper, which describes the approach when implementing the new cross sector quality assurance. After this, specific quality instruments have to be developed (Diel & Klakow-Franck 2009).
The approach of the idea is described as:
renewed: QA is a widely used concept in international health care. However, due to the fragmented nature of German health care, QA was applied using different methodologies for different sectors. The new approach mainly seeks to remedy this fragmentation.
Commissioning the AQUA Institute for implementing a cross sectoral QA system caused a high degree of controversy in Germany. Both the Federal Chamber of Physicians and the German Hospital
Federation (shareholders of the Federal Office for Quality Assurance on the side of the providers) opposed to the decision of the FJC. The FJC justified its decision to commission the AQUA Institute
and not the established Federal Office for Quality Assurance (BQS) with the argument that the concept of cross sectoral quality assurance of the latter was too focused on the inpatient sector. The
Federal Office for Quality Assurance filed a lawsuit. This proved to be unsuccessful and in August 2009 an agreement was signed between the FJC and AQUA on the development of a new cross sectoral
quality assurance system. The new responsibilities mean that the Federal Office for Quality Assurance (BQS) will no longer play a role in mandatory quality assurance.
In addition, there are uncertainties amongst hospitals since hospital employees fear that they will have to adjust to new methods of collecting data by the AQUA Institute, which will result in higher administrative burdens
|Ministry of Health||sehr unterstützend||stark dagegen|
|Federal Office for Quality Assurance (BQS)||sehr unterstützend||stark dagegen|
|Federal Chamber of Physicians||sehr unterstützend||stark dagegen|
|German Hospital Federation||sehr unterstützend||stark dagegen|
|Ministry of Health||sehr groß||kein|
|Federal Office for Quality Assurance (BQS)||sehr groß||kein|
|Federal Chamber of Physicians||sehr groß||kein|
|German Hospital Federation||sehr groß||kein|
Since the implementation is currently underway, it is too early to comment on adoption and implementation.
The main aim of cross sectoral QA is improving the quality of health care in Germany. Whether this will succeed depends on many factors.
Much will depend on the system that AQUA will develop. Although AQUA has extensive experience with optimising quality in health care, introducing a QA model for the whole of Germany (named a "Herculean task" by a the Federal Joint Committee chairman) may pose challenges with regard to capacity and logistics
Whether the new model will become successful also strongly depends on the cooperation AQUA will encounter. The policy process so far may not bode well and showed quite some reservations from the side of mainly the Federal Chamber of Physicians and the German Hospital Association. It will be crucial for AQUA to involve all stakeholders early in the process of developing their QA system, in a transparent manner. The head of the AQUA Institute is currently trying to reach out to providers by taking part in many public debates and events on cross sectoral quality assurance, in an attempt to gain their confidence.
|Qualität||kaum Einfluss||starker Einfluss|
|Gerechtigkeit||System weniger gerecht||System gerechter|
|Kosteneffizienz||sehr gering||sehr hoch|
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