Corona puts the healthcare system to the test

23. November 2020

Just now in the current corona crisis situation it becomes apparent that German hospitals need efficient structures, sufficient medical equipment and trained personnel. In order to cope with the increasing number of patients, foresighted planning and expertise in the management area in combination with medical knowledge are of particular importance. This knowledge is imparted by experts from the practice in the part-time master's program "Health Care Management" at Dresden International University (DIU).

Increasing numbers of infections, deaths and drastic measures in public life: The corona pandemic is affecting people's everyday lives worldwide - and is also putting the German healthcare system to the test. "In Germany, everyone has access to the public health system, 99 percent of the population has health insurance. So there is no financial barrier to seeing a doctor. Especially with COVID-19, fast treatment is crucial and can save lives," explains Prof. Dr. Volker Penter. The expert for health economics and lecturer at the Dresden International University (DIU) knows the factors that make the German health system so efficient and gives another example in connection with the Corona Pandemic. "We have around 40,000 intensive care beds available in Germany in case of an emergency. This high capacity by global comparison is particularly important for the treatment of seriously ill corona patients, as it can quickly become a bottleneck that can make the difference between life and death".

In addition to medical equipment in emergency situations, trained personnel are needed in the healthcare sector. In Germany, the number of doctors based on full-time equivalents in hospitals increased by 73 percent from 1991 to 2018 according to the Federal Statistical Office.

Of course, a good healthcare system also costs a lot of money. In 2018, 4,712 euros per inhabitant were spent on the healthcare system. It is important that this money reaches the patient in the best possible way. That has a lot to do with management. "Profitability and good care are not contradictory. On the contrary, the careful use of scarce resources such as doctors, nursing staff or medical equipment is important in order to use them in the best possible way for the benefit of the patient". As a counter-example, the professor mentions the USA, where drugs and medical services are often disproportionately expensive.

Future challenges for the healthcare system

In the future, health care expenditures will continue to rise, which will increase the pressure on health care facilities to be economical. In this context, Professor Penter identifies three megatrends that are among the challenges of the future: "Demographic developments mean that fewer and fewer young people are available to care for more and more elderly people. In rural areas, the problem is exacerbated by young people moving to the cities. The second trend revolves around scientific progress: The dynamic development of information technologies in particular is opening up new ways and possibilities for detecting and treating diseases. Added to this - thirdly - is the increasing level of patient information. A better-informed patient makes better use of the possibilities that medicine gives him to recognize and cure his illness". The scientific director and lecturer of the master's program "Health Care Management" deals with the megatrends mentioned in the course in the basic course on healthcare and its structure.

Multidisciplinary DIU program trains executives in the health care sector

The multidisciplinary part-time master's degree program "Health Care Management" at Dresden International University (DIU) is aimed at interested parties who work in medical, administrative and management professions - for example in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, public administration or management consultancies. The course provides the necessary tools to identify overarching challenges in the health care sector at the interface of strategic management and operative control and to develop appropriate solutions. "In addition to legal and business management basics, the course also imparts communication science know-how. A central topic here is employee management. Knowledge about recruiting staff and making sure that employees stay with the company is indispensable," explains Professor Penter. The course is characterized by numerous experts from science and practice as well as a high degree of attendance. "At present, of course, a lot is happening online, but here too, interaction with the students is the focus. The work in small groups allows students to deal with individual questions and with practical examples". The current pandemic situation shows how important the future experts in the field of "Health Care Management" are. "Academic knowledge is system knowledge. And you need this knowledge in order to find your way in the ever faster changing world of healthcare in the long term," says Professor Penter.

Further information on the "Health Care Management"