Chapter

New actors enter the stage: the silent voices of consumers in the landscape of biomedicine

Ellen Kuhlmann

in Modernising health care

Published by Policy Press

Published in print September 2006 | ISBN: 9781861348586
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302810 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781861348586.003.0008
New actors enter the stage: the silent voices of consumers in the landscape of biomedicine

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This chapter focuses on the changing role of service users and brings the demands and voices of patients into the equation. Research findings show that the model of ‘expert patients’ and ‘discriminating consumers’ is a limited one when applied to health care and the very diverse needs and demands of patients. Generally speaking, patients welcome their new role as informed service users, but at the same time, they sometimes feel incapable of filling this role and seek out doctors' advice in some situations. However, they take the calls for self-responsibility seriously and call for comprehensive information, especially on complementary and alternative therapies. In the German system, with its culture of equal access to health care services covered by the Statutory Health Insurance (SHI) funds, health policy's new promises on participation may turn out to challenge the state rather than the professions.

Keywords: health care; health service users; alternative therapies; Germany; Statutory Health Insurance

Chapter.  9069 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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