On 5 July 2017, Seufert together with the management consultants Oberender & Partner organised the expert conference "The Future of Municipal Hospitals" ("Zukunft Kommunale Kliniken") for the fourth successive year. The event, directed mostly at local government decision-makers, provides the opportunity to openly discuss the future of municipal hospitals and the challenges involved with speakers Prof. Dr. Dr. sc. (Harvard) Karl W. Lauterbach, MdB, and Prof. Dr. Boris Augurzky in a private environment.
Seufert Health Care Partner Dr. Thomas Vollmöller, in his introduction, reported on the practical effects of the Hospital Structure Act [Krankenhausstrukturgesetzes (KHSG)]. He highlighted the inconsistent parallel treatment of quality requirements (Federal Joint Committee Guidelines, hospital planning, legal regulations, OPS definitions etc.), leading to overregulation but ultimately resulting in better quality only in paper.
Professor Augurzky then presented the results of the current hospital rating report according to which, while the situation in hospitals has stabilised compared to the previous years, Bavarian hospitals in particular still have a disproportionate risk of insolvency. From approx. 2022 the situation for the hospitals will generally dramatically deteriorate due to, i.a., the demographic development and the medical technical advances, unless this is encountered in good time by investment and restructuring. The pending shortage of personnel will also have a detrimental effect within a few years without it being possible to compensate for this by availing of the possibilities of biogenetic, personalised medicine and the Deep Learning of artificial intelligence and robotics.
Professor Lauterbach, in an in-depth presentation of the megatrends in medicine, outlined the demands necessarily placed on health care in the coming decades which many hospitals will not, within the present structures, be able to meet. Structural changes will be unavoidable. Apart from a significant trend towards out-patient care (e.g. even today, the majority of endoprothetic knee operations are conducted in the USA as out-patient treatment with sometimes better results), oncology and neurological defects (dementia and Alzheimer's) will replace cardiovascular as the dominant health issues. Optimal treatment of these illnesses requires that the best medical experts act in a strong interdisciplinary team which cannot be provided in isolation in small units. The survival chances of patients in the so-called "death zone" (patients who could be saved but only with optimal treatment) will increasingly depend on being treated by the right doctors in the right hospital. The task for the future is to organise this quality of treatment and to provide the centres for it.