Disease Management & Health Outcomes

, Volume 14, Supplement 1, pp 19–22 | Cite as

New Possibilities for Communication between Hospital Cardiologists and General Practitioners

  • Holger Hänsch
  • Eckart Fleck
Review Article


In Germany the healthcare system traditionally distinguishes between hospital (inpatient) and non-hospital (outpatient)-based care and subsequent reimbursement. Communication between the sectors involved in the medical system has always been problematical. New forms of care and subsequent payment are designed to overcome the gap between in- and outpatient treatment. By introducing ‘integrated healthcare’ as a comprehensive sector-spanning system the government is seeking to reach this goal.

A promising field for the introduction of integrated healthcare is cardiology. Cardiology meets several criteria needed for its successful implementation: evidence/guideline-based medicine, good statistical information, large numbers of procedures performed, the performance of procedures in both outpatient and inpatient sectors, the chronic course of long-lasting diseases, a high degree of dependence/involvement of other medical specialists and a great need for the implementation and obvious power of innovations in clinical cardiology.

In addition, the prevalence of cardiovascular disease and associated mortality is high in both sexes in industrialized countries. The cost for the treatment of chronic heart failure alone is estimated at €3 billion per annum. It is estimated that savings of 50% are possible in the treatment of cardiovascular illnesses. This calculation is mainly based on reducing the costs of hospital treatment and improving patient compliance. Better compliance would reduce the number of costly hospital admissions caused by the worsening of disease. By the introduction of telemonitoring, integrated healthcare may tap the full potential of savings.

The precondition for success is the broad participation of all parts of the healthcare system. The motivation of patients alone is not sufficient to achieve success: the interest of general practitioners must also be gained so that they can catalyse interest on the part of patients.


Chronic Heart Failure Health Insurance Fund Improve Patient Compliance Integrate Healthcare Compulsory Health Insurance 
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Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Holger Hänsch
    • 1
  • Eckart Fleck
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Internal Medicine/CardiologyGerman Heart Institute BerlinBerlinGermany

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