IQWiG recommends more information about check-up exams

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Written By Kampretz Bianca

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Cologne The general health check is intended to identify health risks and stresses at an early stage. It also serves for the early detection of common diseases, especially cardiovascular and kidney diseases, as well as diabetes.

A new rapid report from the Institute for Healthcare Quality and Efficiency (IQWiG) now shows that population groups that would particularly benefit from it are less likely to take advantage of the check-up exam. The institute therefore recommends that policyholders be informed more intensively about the offer.

In Germany, health insurance companies pay their policyholders aged 35 and over for a check-up every three years. Policyholders between 18 and 34 years old are entitled to a check-up once.

In its analysis, IQWiG recorded, among other things, how usage differs according to age, gender, region, socioeconomic status, lifestyle or immigration experience, what information and educational materials exist, and what effective measures exist to improve reach certain groups.

According to analysis by IQWiG, around 77% of men aged 50 and 85% of women aged 50 in Germany have a general health check at least once in ten years. Overall, usage, even without an invitation, is of the same order of magnitude as in countries with invitation procedures, such as Great Britain or Austria, and even slightly higher in comparison.

However, the institute’s team came to the conclusion that the offer is more likely to be used by people who already have frequent contact with medical practices. Groups with greater health risks and who use the outpatient care system less use the service less.

People who go to check-ups less frequently include people with a low socioeconomic status, women and especially men with signs of health risks or who classify their health status as fair or bad, and people who have immigrated to Germany. reports Beate Zschorlich, Project Head of the Health Information Department at IQWiG.

This group must be specifically addressed, including in other languages. However, the project leader also points out that, based on published studies, the health benefits of the so-called check-up itself are not clear.

In addition to implementing measures to raise awareness and reinforce informed decision-making, a review of the content of the general health check also makes sense in Germany, says Klaus Koch, head of the health information department at IQWiG.

According to its recommendation, the general health examination should be integrated into a permanent and follow-up assessment that also records the effects of the offer on health. © hil/aerzteblatt.de

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