What Can Routine Insurance Data Tell Us About Patient Care in Germany?

It is a matter of asking the right questions. If you know the right questions and how to ask them, you can learn a lot about the quality of patient care in Germany just by studying invoices. Professor Dr. Verena Vogt conducts research to identify the right methods and criteria to find out about the quality of patient care using invoice data. Vogt is junior professor for health care services research and quality management in the ambulatory care sector at the Institute of Technology and Management at Faculty VI Economics and Management.

What are your main areas of focus and interest as a researcher? Are there any issues that particularly inspire you?

Verena Vogt: My research focuses on mapping care pathways and developing and analyzing indicators of high-value care and low-value care in the German health system. I am particularly interested in the possibilities for mapping and analyzing care pathways and quality using statutory health insurance billing data. I want to use this to broaden the methods of health care research in Germany in order to better understand the current situation and identify potential for improvement. I also research regional variation in care and evaluate innovative programs.

What was your most interesting or exciting research project?

My most interesting research project to date was CaptureACCESS, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. In January 2018, we asked approximately 1600 people in Berlin and Brandenburg about their level of satisfaction regarding access to health care. We then compared the survey data to geographic key data on access to health care and analyzed the extent to which the data matched. One of the differences we observed was the distance to the nearest family practice medical doctor - in Berlin, this was only approximately 450 meters compared with 5 kilometers in Brandenburg. This difference was reflected in the level of satisfaction with access to care, which is significantly lower in Brandenburg than in Berlin.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am mainly working on the IndiQ project where we are examining how we can measure quality indicators – in other words if the right level of care is provided for a particular disorder or set of symptoms or not – using routine statutory health insurance data. To do so, we are using a mix of methods, such as systematic reviews, multistage DELPHI expert surveys and analyses of routine statutory health insurance data. Our goal in the long term is to identify problems in health care and develop recommendations for improvement.

Do you have a favorite quotation or life motto? If so, from whom and why is it important for you?

I often think about the following quotation from Hannah Arendt – particularly at the moment: “One could say that a person's living humanity diminishes to the extent that they renounce thinking."

This quotation reminds me of how essential the human capacity to think is for social cohesion and a functioning democracy. However, we need to take the time to think.

Four key stages in her studies and career:

• Studied public health at Bielefeld University and the University of Sheffield
• Research associate at the Department of Health Care Management at TU Berlin
• Doctorate in public health at TU Berlin in March 2017
• Research stay as visiting scholar at the Menzies Centre for Health Policy, the University of Sydney.

I particularly like my work at TU Berlin because …

… of the diversity - from brainstorming for new project proposals to project management, data analysis, evaluation of care delivery models, and collaboration with health care stakeholders.


Interviewer: Christina Camier


Prof. Dr.

Verena Vogt