Family Medicine and the Future of Medical Care

Fifth anniversary of professorship in family medicine at the University of Lübeck – Round-table discussion on 26 August

The University of Lübeck has had a professor of family medicine for five years. The achievements and future tasks in this area were the topic of a round-table discussion at the university on 26 August.

Prof. Dr. Christopher Baum, Vice President of Medicine, opened the event on behalf of the Executive Board. Talks were given by Dr. Niels Bunzen, board member of the Damp Foundation, and Prof. Dr. Jost Steinhäuser, Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Lübeck.

“With this new professorship, the plan is to establish a research centre for family medicine in Lübeck along international guidelines, with a focus on research into healthcare, treatment for chronically ill patients, as well as research into initial and continuing training,” said Dr. Niels Bunzen. “The Damp Foundation represents our initial source of funding. The close cooperation with the existing institutes of the Centre for Population Medicine and Healthcare Research, the UKSH clinics and the university’s teachers and teaching practices in family medicine reinforce our decision. The institute is doing important work in getting young people interested in family medicine, so as to ensure comprehensive healthcare in the future, too. Professor Steinhäuser has also managed to develop a strong trans-regional research network. We are glad to see how an initial idea has given rise to a think tank which is helping to advance the future development of healthcare.”

Prof. Dr. Jost Steinhäuser provided an overview of the field under the heading “Family Medicine 4.0 – The Value of Academic Family Medicine for Future Local Healthcare”. “A central research topic within the scope of the professorship, and one that is highly relevant for healthcare for the general public, is the need for general practitioners,” he said. “Our institute is one of Germany’s leading centres in the related field of research into continuing education in family medicine. Employees at the institute are also working on research issues relating to digitally supported healthcare in the university’s Center for Open Innovation in Connected Health (COPICOH). In the area of teaching in the human medicine study programme, the institute’s teachers are particularly highly rated. These represent the ideal conditions for communicating the pleasure of working as a GP to students.”

Among others, representatives from the Chamber of Physicians, the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, and the Schleswig-Holstein Association of General Practitioners, as well as project partners, took part in the round-table discussion.

The professorship in family medicine was set up as an endowed professorship at the university by the Damp Foundation. The university has consolidated the position now that the initial five-year funding period has passed. The professorship in family medicine takes a scientific approach to the analysis of topics of major importance in terms of both society and health policy, including the future of medical treatment, particularly in rural areas, and the future need for GPs. The institute is a central member of the university’s Center for Open Innovation in Connected Health (COPICOH), which researches multidisciplinary issues concerning digitally supported medical care, especially telemedicine applications.

Representatives from the medical profession, chambers, and the university gathered for the round-table event (Photos: Tim Jelonnek / University of Lübeck) Dr. Niels Bunzen, board member of the Damp Foundation Prof. Dr. Jost Steinhäuser (right) and Prof. Dr. Christopher Baum Animated discussion on the future of medical care