Self-Help Friendliness as an Approach to Collaboration Between Self-Help Groups and Doctors

DOI: 10.3238/zfa.2014.0415-0418

german translation / full article

Alf Trojan

Keywords: Self-Help Groups Quality Management Ambulatory Care

Introduction: Building coalitions between doctors and patients for quality improvement of health services is an important goal of German health policy. Many organisations of the medical profession try to promote such collaboration. However, there is a lack of systematic professionally grounded approaches. During the past 10 years under the heading of „self-help friendliness“ a new approach has been developed and tested for all areas of health services provision. This paper will present basic features and the present state of this approach in ambulatory care.

Method: Narrative overview based on a pragmatic and a systematic literature search

Results: In a demonstration project with six practices quality criteria of self-help friendliness were developed in a consensus process between doctors, self-help clearinghouses and self-help groups. The implementation has been well documented and is publicly available. The criteria were integrated into the internal quality management of practices as well as into nation-wide accreditation systems, such as QEP and EPA. Two innovative self-help friendly regional health care provider networks and their conception of self-help related patient centredness were identified and will be described.

Discussion: Factors, such as good acceptance of the quality criteria, their introduction into formal German accreditation systems, and a national coordination office, funded by major health insurance companies, might foster the spreading of the approach. At the same time, however, all parties involved have some problems or reservations. Therefore, a rapid growth of self-help friendly healthcare institutions seems rather unlikely.

(State: 13.05.2015)

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