Comparison of hospitals in the region How to find the best hospital for your treatment

Region · The German Hospital Federation (DKG) has revamped its online register. GA took a look at how it works, what you can find out about the hospitals in and around Bonn - and what you won’t learn.

 A breat cancer diagnosis: this register will help you find the right hospital for treatment.

A breat cancer diagnosis: this register will help you find the right hospital for treatment.

Foto: dpa/Hannibal Hanschke

Patients seeking hospital care can now navigate an online directory to discover services and standards. The German Hospital Federation’s website provides extensive details on case volumes, staffing, equipment and complication rates. Recently upgraded with new search capabilities, including Long-Covid treatments, the directory promises a quicker, smoother user experience, according to Joachim Odenbach of the DKG.

Some 500,000 patients use the portal every month to find out about the services and quality of treatment offered by hospitals. The data is not based on an AI algorithm but on annual quality reports that hospitals are obliged to submit and which are collated by the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA), the highest decision-making body of the joint self-administration in the German healthcare system.

As an example, a simple search for "hernia" highlights the GFO Klinik Marien Hospital in Bonn, boasting a remarkable 553 surgeries compared to other local hospitals. For instance there were only 165 cases at Bonn University Hospital or 148 at Remagen’s Maria Stern Hospital.

Refining searches further reveals specific treatments and hospital features. For example, if you live in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler and need a cataract operation, enter this in a search mask and add a radio of 50 kilometers. A whole range of medical facilities will be listed including the Bonn University Hospital with 315 cases, and the Sankt Josef Hospital in Bonn-Beuel, which is at the top of the list. If you click on the specialist department, you find out that this is the Roth Eye Clinic, which is housed under the same roof as the Sankt Josef Hospital. With 1033 operations, it is the hospital with the most cases treated from the perspective of a patient from Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler. The hospitals can be ranked according to the number of beds, distance from their own location, or number of cases.

Bedside TV

Navigation through the portal involves entering location details and selecting desired search parameters. Users can explore specialties, room amenities such as a bedside TV, whether the hospital has a car park or an ATM, whether it works with self-help organisations, and so on. And you can even use body navigation to pinpoint treatment areas. While complication rates aren't universally available, the directory remains a valuable resource for comprehensive hospital information.

Search for complication rates

The directory's map function allows users to see hospitals nationwide, categorized by bed capacity. However, accessing complication rates remains a challenge. A DKG spokesperson admits that these are not listed for all specialities, or that they are not meaningful. For example, if a breast cancer patient has to have a follow-up operation, this is included in the complication rate - although follow-up operations are not uncommon, especially in cancer treatments.

A woman from Meckenheim looking for the right clinic within a radius of 75 kilometres will first come across the St. Elisabeth Hospital in Cologne, which treats almost 3,000 cases a year. If you click on "Suitable specialist department" and then on "Breast centre", you will find many details about the specialist department, such as staffing levels. You will find a lot of information on risk management and also that there are error systems. A complication rate as such is not given, but you can click through to find all the necessary information. To do this, go via "Quality" to "External comparative quality assurance" and then to the treatment areas under "Breast cancer operations". Very detailed information on all breast cancer operations can also be found at Kliniken der Stadt Köln gGmbH - Krankenhaus Holweide, in second place with 2636 cases.

In the immediate vicinity, the University Hospital Bonn (876 cases), St. Josef Hospital Troisdorf (845 cases), and Marienhospital Bonn (812 cases) are listed in ninth, tenth, and eleventh place. The Troisdorf Hospital and the Marienhospital also list detailed quality results: for example, how often the lymph nodes in the armpit were completely removed in patients with early-stage breast cancer and breast-conserving surgery. Or whether follow-up operations were necessary because malignant tumours were removed incompletely or without a sufficient safety margin in the first operation, and much more information.

(Original text: Dylan Cem Akalin; Translation: Jean Lennox)