Cost pressure on doctors: patients wish there was more time for treatments
Many patients and doctors complain about too little time spent in the treatment room – what can complementary medicine do here?
The figures are clear: just 32 percent of Germans are satisfied with medical treatment, as the survey "Healthcare Barometer 2019" by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows: (https://www.pwc.de/de/gesundheitswesen-und-pharma/healthcare-barometer-2019.html).
The biggest reason for this widespread discontent? Too little time that the doctors take for treatment. Conversely, many doctors also wish that they had more time for their patients, but fail due to increasing cost pressure. Can complementary medicine, with its Human-focused forms of treatment, build a bridge here?
"My doctor doesn't take the time" - patients and doctors in dilemma
When People go to the doctor, they often only have a limited time in which their concerns can be addressed. The main reason for this is the high cost pressure, because conversations with a patient usually bring in very little money for the doctors, as this article by the WDR shows, among other things: (https://www1.wdr.de/mediathek/video-viele-aerzte-wuenschen-sich-mehr-zeit-fuer-ihre-patienten-102.html).
For Farid Zitoun, institute director of Naturheilzentrum Bottrop, this reflects a systemic weakness: "In recent decades, the health system in Germany has become more and more economized toward a 'treatment assembly line', which is trimmed for efficiency. Unfortunately, the patients’ concerns often fall by the wayside."
On average, primary care physicians in Germany take only eight minutes per patient, according to a large-scale study by the University of Cambridge (https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/7/10/e017902). In contrast, patients spend much longer in the treatment room in other countries. Top-ranked Sweden even spends an average of more than 22 minutes per treatment – an indication that things could be different.
Patients would like more time - but so would doctors
This study by the Carstens Foundation shows that the current situation is exactly the opposite of what many patients want: https://www.carstens-stiftung.de/artikel/welche-behandlungsmerkmale-schaetzen-patienten.html. For example, the aspects of "time" and "active listening" are very high on most respondents’ list of priorities.
For the naturopath, Farid Zitoun, this result comes as no surprise: "A lot of People who come to us often feel let down by their doctor. There are studies that show that positive attention which physicians give their patients can play a large role in the success of the treatment. Unfortunately, the actual treatment at the doctor rarely translates this into reality."
Significantly, even doctors are increasingly criticizing the situation, as a member survey by the Marburg Confederation of Baden-Württemberg revealed: (https://www.marburger-bund.de/baden-wuerttemberg/pressemitteilung/ergebnisbericht-der-mitgliederbefragung-des-marburger-bundes). 90 percent of the doctors surveyed say that the care of patients would be better if they had more time for them – a clear result.
Focusing on People - complementary medicine takes the time
While the situation for doctors is complex and may require reform, complementary medicine can stand out as a bridge builder through its totally Human-focused approach: "As naturopaths, we can take much more time for patients and also observe them more holistically. This includes, among other things, understanding the circumstances and medical history of a Person in its entirety. With more time available to us as complementary-medicine practitioners at the naturopathic practice, it is possible for us to simply listen and at the same time build a relationship of trust with the patient, which is very important for further treatment," says Zitoun from the daily practice.
When you take this into consideration, it does not seem surprising that more and more People are turning toward naturopathy.
In the best cases, this also includes a healthy dose of humor – and there is no lack of this at NABO, as the new outtakes video by the two lifestyle bloggers, Farid Zitoun and Christian Rüger, proves.
In his blog article "Humor at work - fun at work?", guest author, Stephan Brenk, describes how humor can have a positive effect on everyday work.