Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

German students want to be treated at home

02.03.2012
Patient mobility is a hot item in ‘Brussels’. With freedom of movement within the EU, seeking healthcare across borders seems logical, at least in the minds of policy makers. But do EU citizens actually take this step?

A study by the department of Health Services Research shows that the opposite is happening: 97% of the surveyed German student population at Maastricht University go to their home country to receive healthcare. “It’s not that they want to avoid healthcare in Maastricht. They just prefer going home.”

Irene Glinos is doing a PhD at Maastricht University on cross-border healthcare. “I study anything related to healthcare across borders, whether it’s a service, a patient or a professional. I’m mainly interested in the impact of the EU integration and the freedom of movement on healthcare: if and how it affects the behavior of patients but also of providers and hospitals.” Researcher Nora Doering has assisted Glinos in the study of German students and their healthcare seeking behavior since 2010. Between October and December 2010 they collected 235 valid surveys from German students who were living in Maastricht for over one year. This represents about 8% of the total German student population in Maastricht.

According to the researchers, the results were striking: 97% of the respondents went to Germany for healthcare and of these 76% even travelled back and forth to their home city for treatment; 72% received care only in Germany, so not even once in Maastricht. The mean travelled distance was 269 km – for some of them, travelling 800 km was not an obstacle for going home for healthcare. The study concluded that students overwhelmingly go to Germany for medical care. Those who stayed in Maastricht mainly accessed GP services and/or had physiotherapy.

Reasons
The most mentioned reasons for going home to Germany were knowing the healthcare providers, the system and the language as well as the ease of reimbursement. Nora Doering: “Some students didn’t understand why we asked them where they went for healthcare, “I go home, of course” was a common answer. Initially we thought that maybe these students had had bad experiences with the Dutch healthcare system in the past but that was not the case. It’s a genuine preference.”

Interestingly, the ease of reimbursement isn’t even a real factor in this case: according to EU regulations, EU students who study in another Member State are entitled to receive health care both in their home country and in the country where they study with full cover for the medical expenses. But most just don’t know this and neither do some Dutch health professionals. Doering: “Some students had to pay for a GP appointment here in the Netherlands. That’s simply unawareness of both parties.”

Despite regulations, most people prefer to go to home where they have a familiar doctor and a familiar medical system. Glinos: “Legal entitlements do not change people’s deep-seated preferences. Peer feedback does. We are creatures of habit. We even go to the same supermarket because we know how to find our way there. It’s understandable that for personal matters such as health, people prefer a person or system they know.”

And we shouldn’t forget that there are significant differences between the Dutch and the German healthcare systems. The fact that the Dutch first go to a GP and only then are they referred to a specialist is strange for Germans and the same goes for the idea of giving birth at home instead of in a hospital.

No huge phenomenon
Does this mean there’s no demand for cross-border health care in the EU? In some particular cases there is, says Glinos. “Thousands of people from Vienna cross the border to Hungary for dental care, because they can save up to two thirds of the costs. And if you have a very rare, life threatening illness, you will go anywhere to survive. But I doubt it will become a huge phenomenon. In general, people want the best possible healthcare in an environment they know: if you are ill, you don’t want to travel and leave your friends and family behind. This study on German students confirms this: patients want to be treated at home.”

This phenomenon would need to be examined in other studies. “Of course this is just one population; the study would have to be repeated elsewhere or with a different student population. But the results give us a very strong indication of the preferences of EU citizens, or even of people in general. I would love to look into the movements of Dutch students in Maastricht who come, for instance, from Amsterdam. Do they go there for healthcare as well? I think they do. And how do English or Chinese students handle this?”

In this respect the researchers also have a tip for Maastricht University. Glinos: “Since we have so many international students, why not have a small medical centre on campus with English speaking staff? It would be very useful for international students to have place where they could go to and get some basic information about the Dutch medical system. Most schools have a nurse, so why not have something similar at our university?”

The article ‘Travelling home for treatment and EU patients’ rights to care abroad: Results of a survey among German students at Maastricht University’, by Irene A. Glinos, Nora Doering and Hans Maarse, was published online on 20 January in the scientific journal Health Policy. Irene Glinos hopes to obtain her PhD at Maastricht University in 2013. She also studies health professional mobility in the EU at the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies in Brussels, where she is working part-time.

For more information, please refer to: http://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/web/Main/Press.htm

Flore Clerkx | idw
Further information:
http://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/web/Main/Press.htm
http://webmagazine.maastrichtuniversity.nl/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

nachricht The gut microbiota plays a key role in treatment with classic diabetes medication
01.06.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

Im Focus: Optoelectronic Inline Measurement – Accurate to the Nanometer

Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.

New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation

22.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

A rhodium-based catalyst for making organosilicon using less precious metal

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>