Video chat instead of waiting room

A preliminary talk about which specialist is the right one, or just briefly checking how the wound is healing. Wouldn't it be practical if this could be done by video call? For physicians, health insurers and many patients probably already. But although video consultations are technically and legally possible, the offer has hardly been used so far. The example of Hesse shows the problems.

"Hopefully, this will become more so in the future," wishes Pavel Khaykin. Frankfurt internist thinks video consultations "definitely make sense," reports dpa. He has been offering this service since the beginning of August, "but so far there hasn't been a single inquiry". Khaykin and a handful of other physicians from various specialties in Hesse offer their video consultations through their own online portals. Sensitive data is involved, so you can't just use programs like Skype or Facetime, explains Dr. Khaykin.

The National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV) and the central association of statutory health insurers (GKV) had already agreed in 2016 on the technical requirements for practices and video service providers. Doctors must obtain written consent before using video consultations, the conversation must not be recorded and the transmission must be specially encrypted.


Young germans neglect their own health

More and more young Germans are convinced that medical advances and digital helpers will keep them healthy for life. Almost 40 percent therefore believe that a healthy lifestyle is increasingly superfluous. This is shown in the study "Future Health – Young German Citizens Taken to the Pulse" by Schwenninger Krankenkasse and the foundation "Die Gesundarbeiter" (The Healthy Workers). Every year, more than 1.000 adolescents and young adults in Germany between the ages of 14 and 34 were surveyed.

Prevention is not an ie for six in 10 14- to 34-year-olds. The willingness to take preventive health care decreases from year to year. According to the current study, 38 percent of respondents rely on the fact that cancer and cardiovascular diseases, for example, can always be cured better – in 2016, only just under one in four held this view.

In addition, 28 percent consider it less important to take care of their own health because medical aids will keep them healthy (2016: 21 percent).


Quick diagnosis: blood test shows whether antibiotics are needed

A new test that can determine whether infections of the respiratory tract, for example, are caused by viruses or bacteria could prove to be a crucial step in combating antibiotic resistance.

Researchers at Duke University in North Carolina, USA, have discovered that genes each respond differently depending on whether they are fighting viruses or bacterial infections, according to their news release.

So with a simple blood test, doctors could determine within an hour whether or not to prescribe antibiotics.


Record number of suspected reports of medical malpractice

5500 insured had turned to the statutory health insurance in 2017, because they suspected a treatment error in themselves, a TK spokeswoman told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur. That is an increase of 16 percent compared to 2016, he said.

Most complaints were about treatment by surgeons (1477 suspected cases). This was followed by dentists (920 suspected cases), general practitioners (546 cases) and orthopedists (351 cases). Internal medicine accounted for 221 complaints, gynecologists had 219 and ophthalmologists 216 cases. Last year, TK reportedly claimed back more than 15 million euros from doctors and clinics for the follow-up costs of incorrect treatment.

Medical law expert Christian Soltau explained: "Today, the insured are much more critical and self-confident than in the past." The "gods in white" are now normal service providers, he said. "That is why the phone rings more frequently at our complaint hotline."However, not every suspected case is confirmed in the course of the review, Soltau emphasized. But in about one in three cases, the evidence of a treatment error is corroborated. In addition, there is probably still a high number of undetected treatment errors.


Shortage of nursing staff takes on dramatic forms

Germany lacks at least 35.000 caregivers. While in the care of the elderly around 23.000 positions are vacant, there is a shortage of more than 12.000 specialists and helpers, according to a response from the German government to a question from the Green parliamentary group. The Greens health expert Kordula Schulz-Asche called for an emergency nursing program with 50.000 additional positions in hospitals and geriatric care, "to remedy the situation now".

In its response, first reported by the Berliner Zeitung, the Ministry of Health refers to the labor market statistics of the Federal Employment Agency. According to this, in 2017 there was a shortfall of around 15.000 geriatric nurses and about 8.000 geriatric care assistants. In addition, there are about 11.000 vacancies among nursing specialists and around 1400 more among nursing assistants.

In some cases, the ratio of vacancies to unemployed staff varies dramatically: in geriatric care, there are only 21 unemployed specialists for every 100 vacancies, according to the ministry's response. In nursing, the ratio is 100 to 41.


Germany is a hotspot for drug testing

"You need time off in a chic environment and want to be pampered for a change?"With sentences like these, many job portals on the Internet advertise for drug tests. The offers are often aimed at students or the self-employed: "We're healthy, young and need the cash," one of the pages reads.

Volunteers are in demand in Germany, reports dpa. Only in the U.S. are more clinical trials conducted by pharmaceutical companies than in this country. According to the German Association of Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (vfa), Germany is well ahead of the UK with 499 and France with 390, with participation in 532 trials started last year.

The range of the tests reaches thereby from ambulatory studies for 50 euro up to hospital stays of several weeks, for which test persons receive already times up to 6000 euro. The tests are a huge market. According to their own figures, pharmaceutical companies in Germany invest around 5.8 billion euros per year in laboratory research and clinical trials.


Number of home visits by physicians declines significantly

While there were 30.3 million primary care physician visits to patients in 2009 and about 27 million in 2010, there were only 25.2 million in 2016. Last year, according to a projection, there was probably a further drop to 24.6 million visits. That's according to a response from the German government to a Left Party question, first reported by ARD's capital city studio. The number of home visits per physician fell from 592 to 484 from 2009 to 2017, according to data from the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians. "While doctors in Westphalia-Lippe made the fewest home visits (an average of 349), there had been the most in Saarland (an average of 894 visits per year and doctor)," according to the univadis

Left-wing health expert Achim Kessler said people in rural areas in particular must be able to rely on good care with home visits if they are unable to see a doctor. "It should be self-evident that medically necessary home visits are possible without fear of repayment demands from health insurers," dpa quoted him as saying. The declines suggest that physicians are also cautious about making house calls because they could face claims for reimbursement of fees after performance audits.

"According to the federal government, it is the responsibility of the associations of panel doctors (KVs) and health insurers to review medical services for their cost-effectiveness," according to "Whether this is done according to averages or other criteria varies across the country and is not mandatory. How this is designed is the sole responsibility of the respective KVs and insurance companies."


Healthy lunch break is difficult to reconcile with full-time job

Although 80 percent of those surveyed consider a healthy diet important or. is very important, 49 percent often have just enough for a sandwich or a roll during their lunch break – and they eat it right at their desk in front of their PC, according to a representative survey commissioned by BKK Mobil Oil on the occasion of Healthy Eating Day (07.03.) out.*

According to the survey results, companies also have a responsibility: for example, one in two say that their own employer offers employees no or too little support in eating healthily at work.

Too little time to eat and a lack of options on the part of the employer: many full-time employees find it difficult to eat healthily in their everyday working lives. Yet the desire for a balanced diet is definitely there – 78 percent of male and 82 percent of female employees state that a healthy diet is important to them or that it is important for them to eat well. very important. In addition, 49 percent of men and 50 percent of women rate "healthy and nutritious" as the most important criteria when it comes to workplace nutrition – far ahead of "taste" in second place and "speed" in third place.


Study: civil servants as health insurance patients would ease the burden on the budget

According to a study, including civil servants and pensioners in statutory health insurance would massively ease the burden on public budgets. If they were subject to the same compulsory insurance as employees, the public coffers could save around 60 billion euros by 2030, according to a study by the Bertelsmann Stiftung.

Two-thirds of the three million civil servants and pensioners currently covered by private health insurance would then have to be insured in the statutory health insurance system. In addition, the study ames that a further 21 percent would voluntarily switch to statutory health insurance for financial reasons, which would mean that nine out of ten civil servants would be covered by statutory health insurance. This would save the federal government 1.6 billion euros and the states 1.7 billion euros in the first year alone, according to Reuters.

The federal states would have to pay the usual employer's contribution for their legally insured civil servants. This would be less in the federal government and most of the states than what they currently spend on tax-funded aid. According to the study, 13 of 16 federal states would be relieved in the long term – only Saxony, Bremen and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania would be slightly burdened. In 2014, the federal government reportedly spent 4.5 billion euros on civil servant allowances. The states had to spend 7.4 billion euros on it in the same year.


Experts recommend eating fatty fish regularly

Growing scientific evidence suggests that nutrient deficiencies – such as a lack of omega-3 fatty acids – damage the brain and are responsible for many mental health disorders. Omega-3 fatty acid intake may reduce risk of such diseases. The two most important fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), curb inflammatory processes in the body and can thus alleviate chronic diseases.

Omega-3 fatty acids are among the essential fatty acids – the most important building blocks of human health. They are vital to staying healthy, similar to certain vitamins or minerals. But the body can not form these fatty acids itself. Therefore, they must be consumed in the diet, either through natural foods or supplements such as fish oil capsules.

Researchers at the Center for Alzheimer's Disease and Memory Disorders at Rhode Island Hospital in the U.S. found that DHA supplements alter important chemical processes and structures in the brain. In addition, they can counteract a decrease in cognitive performance and unusual brain aging.