It is time for a strategy shift
Berlin/Neuruppin, 7 December 2020
Klaus Piwernetz – expert with 3 decades of experience in health care and health management, systems theory and telematics – and Prof. Edmund Neugebauer, president of the Brandenburg Medical School, are the co-authors of Strategiewechsel jetzt! (time for a strategy shift), a book published today by De Gruyter. They perceive the Corona pandemic as a major opportunity to revise our health system and give detailed recommendations for a prospective system of health care with a focus on needs- and patient-based orientation, responsibility and transparency – in short: the health system we all deserve.
Prof. Neugebauer speaks of the strong competence and dedication of caregivers as decisive elements in the currently just barely controllable progress of the pandemic in Germany. The crisis, so Neugebauer, has made many problems blatantly obvious which experts have been pointing out for years: “In our book we list 15 simple rules and design principles of how to define targets for health and services provision, assign responsibilities, create transparency and ultimately resolve goal conflicts between quality of care and economic criteria.”
Dr. Günther Jonitz, head of the Berlin Medical Chamber, writes in his preface that the book “gives an easily comprehensible account of key problems in health politics, and very detailed suggestions for politicians from local up to highest levels how to create the foundations for better health care and shared responsibility. To all who do not want things to remain as they are, who still have hopes for a humane and high-quality health system, who can no longer bear to watch the daily decline of the system – in short: to everybody who wants a better system for future generations I strongly recommend this book. It helps all of us!”
From Pandemic Task Force to National Institute of Health
The authors believe health care should primarily be based on the needs of population and patients, on scientific evidence and the strong potential of caregivers. They apply methods of systems theory to analyse logical relations between levels in the health system: from health politics to self-management, from care providers to patients.
“In the current situation politicians are challenged to take decisions so that health, society and economy remain more or less controllable: as few people as possible should fall ill or even die, social life is to remain bearable, and the economy must work reasonably well. Correlations within and between these areas are so complex that neither politicians nor scientists or economic experts can precisely predict overall developments or the effects of individual measures. And this is where our considerations and specific suggestions come in,” so Neugebauer and Piwernetz.
They take recent calls for a panel of medical experts several important steps further and demand to introduce a National Pandemic Task Force and subsequently to establish a National Institute of Health. The handling of data, facts and evidence related to infections, epidemiology and treatment options must be uniform nationwide, so the authors; a central institution is therefore required where virologists, infectiologists, epidemiologists, ethicists and outcomes researchers can register and process such data with a view to policy advice and the development of strategies to control intelligent and graded interventions. “The task force takes action as new information becomes available. Talk shows would refrain from airing contradictory individual opinions, editors and presenters would exercise professional restraint. Communication experts involved in the strategy would set up a uniform concept, ensure transparency and raise public acceptance of political decisions,” so the authors on the advantages of the suggested institutions.
Social responsibility for the MHB
Prof. Neugebauer describes social responsibility, together with research and teaching, as an integral part of the MHB mandate and its strategies for the future. These comprise more than models and concepts for a future-oriented health system. A further objective is the transfer of findings into practical application. He hopes that the suggestions made in the new book will figure in the political debate on how to improve health care in the State of Brandenburg.
Klaus Piwernetz combines clinical activities as a physician and systems-theoretical studies as a physicist with international projects in telematics and quality management for the European Union and the WHO. In the field of chronic illnesses he has contributed to structuring the provision of care at European level for patients with diabetes, depression and schizophrenia. Starting 2010, he co-initiated the internet portal Qualitätskliniken.de with data material from more than 150 hospitals. He is the principal partner and managing director of medimaxx health management Ltd. Contact: email@example.com.
Edmund A.M. Neugebauer is the president of the Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane, former chairman of the German Network for Evidence Based Medicine and the German Network for Health Services Research. Prior to his retirement he held the Chair of Surgical Research at the Faculty of Health, Witten/Herdecke University, and headed the Institute of Research in Operative Medicine (IFOM). Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more details see: www.strategiewechsel-jetzt.de.