TRANSFORMING A REGIONAL HEALTHCARE SYSTEM IN GERMANY
In a rural area of approximately 300,000 inhabitants near Frankfurt, Germany, a network of physicians applied the U process in several ways, including in a patient-physician dialogue forum.
When negotiations between the physicians’ network and the insurance company stalled, the core group of physicians invited other physicians and their patients to a one-day meeting designed around the U process.
In preparation for the meeting, a group of students trained in dialogue interviews spoke with 130 patients and their physicians. Then they invited
all of the interviewees to a feedback session, which 100 of them attended.
During this event and afterward, the patients and physicians moved from politeness and debate to real dialogue and thinking together.
The initiatives formed or crystallized during this day had a profound impact on the region.
One group proposed a standard format for transferring information between hospitals and outside physicians and has since opened an office for the outside physicians at the largest hospital in the region. It is jointly run by the clinic and residential physicians and works to improve critical interface between the two.
The group also prototyped and then institutionalized a new program that provides better emergency care for patients, incorporates cross-institutional cooperation, and costs less.
As a result, factor 4 cost savings have been realized, and patient complaints in that region have decreased to almost zero.
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