[Patient-centred care in rare diseases. A patient organisations' perspective]

Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz. 2007 Dec;50(12):1484-93. doi: 10.1007/s00103-007-0382-8.
[Article in German]


Patients living with rare diseases have special common needs. Although the 5,000-6,000 rare diseases are very different, many patients share the experience of a time-consuming and sometimes frustrating journey towards diagnosis, the lack of established standards of care and foremost the search for competent physicians. Because of their complexity, rare diseases mostly demand an interdisciplinary and cross-sectional medical care. The model of the "patient-centred health-care value chain" explains how primary (prevention, diagnosis, treatment) and secondary activities (exchange of information, quality management, identification of unmet needs, research and development) contribute to the patient benefit applying a holistic approach. This model thereby prevents an isolated view from the perspective of single health-care providers. A survey to which 21 German patient-organisations in the rare-disease field contributed, was performed to obtain insight into preferred medical care concepts and preferences in the way that care is provided. The results clearly suggest that the patient organisations have a clear view on how disease-specific care should be delivered; however, in reality those preferences seem to be met to a minor extent in Germany at present. According to patient organisations, rare-disease patient care should always be a patient- centred, interdisciplinary and holistic effort. The solidaric health-care system in Germany provides an excellent basis for this kind of medical care. However, a new patient- rather than system-oriented approach is needed to make it work in reality.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection
  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Patient-Centered Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Primary Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Rare Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Rare Diseases / epidemiology
  • Rare Diseases / therapy*